Ebene News – UA – Victoria better positioned to succeed this time around, epidemiologists say

Epidemiologists are optimistic that Victoria’s public health teams are better placed to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak than during the state’s devastating second wave that began in June

University of Melbourne mathematical epidemiologist James McCaw also said the Victorians themselves were ready to tackle the epidemic head-on

Michael Glen of Cheltenham with his boys Nate, 6, and Rocky, 4, play Chasey while waiting for a COVID test in ParkdaleCredit: Penny Stephens

“Victorian audiences are also more prepared Anecdotally, I can see that people’s use of masks has already changed,” said Professor McCaw, also a member of the Australian Health Protection Committee who advises the national cabinet “The Victorians know how to answer it, and I think we will”

More than 70 people were in isolation after eight new cases of the coronavirus were recorded on Wednesday and Thursday All eight were linked to a probable transmission event at Thai restaurant Smile Buffalo in Black Rock on December 21, where one person dined after returning from NSW

Deakin University Chair of Epidemiology Catherine Bennett said it was great news that all of these eight cases can be traced to a single source

“The other positive sign is how quickly our public health response team established the link with the restaurant,” she said

The risk now was that other people had been exposed to the virus by then or since, “and we have not discovered all the sites of exposure”

Professor Bennett said the current tracing is “completely different” from six months ago

“It is extraordinary to have the level of information they have collected in such a short time,” she said. “They are already going out to the contacts of the contacts, that’s exactly what we want to see”

Smile Buffalo Thai Cuisine Restaurant on Beach Rd Black Rock, which hosted a COVID-infected dinner partyCredit: Penny Stephens

Professor Bennett also said it was important that the Thai restaurant and a church where contacts of the original infected person had visited kept good records of those who visited “This means that the health department can actively seek out these contacts,” she said

Professor Bennett also endorsed the Victorian government’s swift action to close the border with New South Wales “The public health response looks exactly how you would like it to look at this stage, and the restrictions additional forces us to contribute to this effort by keeping [the epidemic] as small as possible while they bring it under control”

Professor McCaw said it was good that all of the cases appeared to be related to the Thai restaurant as it was “a single event much easier to control than if there were separate chains of transmission “

“We will find out if there are more cases at this restaurant and that puts us on high alert for at least two weeks,” he said “People have to be extremely vigilant”

The team led by Professor McCaw at the University of Melbourne analyzed the spread of cases in New South Wales The state had 136 new cases last week

He said if the people of Sydney still mixed together enough for the coronavirus to spread, “the excellent public health response in place” was reducing it and giving him the opportunity to keep it from spiraling out of control

It was very different from Victoria in June and July when the virus spread widely in the community It only started to slow down when a strong lockdown was instituted

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Clay Lucas is a senior reporter for The Age Clay has worked at The Age since 2005, covering urban affairs, transportation, state policy, local government and labor relations for The Age and Sunday Age

New Year, Coronavirus, Victoria

Ebene News – UA – Victoria in better position to succeed this time around, epidemiologists say

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/victoria-s-health-teams-are-better-placed-for-success-this-time-around-say-epidemiologists-20201231-p56r3v.html