A second resident of Arcare’s aged care facility in Maidstone, in Melbourne’s west, has tested positive for coronavirus.
- The 89-year-old is asymptomatic, but has been taken to hospital
- The resident had been fully vaccinated, but only received his second dose on Monday
- The rollout of second doses of the vaccine were brought forward to this week after a worker tested positive
The 89-year-old man is the fifth person connected to the Arcare facility to contract COVID-19, after a worker tested positive for the virus over the weekend.
The son of the worker, a second worker and another resident also tested positive earlier this week.
Arcare confirmed Wednesday’s case was a close contact of the first positive resident.
“They will be transferred to hospital for public health reasons, coordinated by the Victorian Department of Health,” Arcare CEO Colin Singh said in a statement.
Mr Singh said residents and staff would continue to be tested every two days for the first week of the outbreak.
The first resident, a woman who is asymptomatic, was also taken to hospital earlier this week.
Resident had been fully vaccinated, minister says
Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck told the Senate Estimates Committee the male resident had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Residents at the home who had opted to be vaccinated had just received their second dose on Monday, with the 89-year old among them.
He had tested indeterminate, then negative, then positive 48 hours later, Senator Colbeck said.
The vaccination of aged care residents and staff has been in the spotlight this week, with Senator Colbeck yesterday saying he was “comfortable” only about 10 per cent of the workforce had been vaccinated.
It was also revealed the government did not know how many workers had received a dose.
The infection is in addition to the six cases recorded in the state on Tuesday and announced by the health department on Wednesday. The case will be counted in the numbers announced on Thursday morning.
Three clusters where source is a mystery
The Arcare worker who first contracted the virus is being treated as a mystery case, without a known source.
Genomic testing has confirmed the female health professional does have the same Kappa strain of the virus linked to the Melbourne outbreak.
The Arcare cluster is one of three points in the outbreak where transmission links remain unclear.
Authorities are still trying to establish how the infection spread from a Wollert man infected in South Australian hotel quarantine to a cluster of cases that were detected in the City of Whittlesea weeks later.
On Wednesday, COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said authorities were running blood tests for coronavirus on people who were on the flight from Adelaide to Melbourne with the Wollert man.
Contact tracers are also still determining how a family of four who travelled up to New South Wales a week ago could be linked to the outbreak.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it was not yet clear which member of the family was the index case, and how their infection could be linked back to the broader outbreak.
There are about 5,200 primary close contacts who have been identified as the outbreak continues to grow.
By Wednesday afternoon, 77.8 per cent had returned a negative test result.
“There are 189 primary close contacts linked to a network of community grocery stores and retail outlets in the Northern Suburbs, and in Dandenong, with 169 negative results received so far,” the Department of Health’s daily update said.
“Of seven schools and higher education settings that have also been linked to positive cases, 434 primary close contacts are identified and over 300 negative results received.”