These Ten Suburbs Are Melbourne's Current COVID-19 Hotspots
The State Government has just launched a testing blitz that'll see at least half of the residents in the hotspot suburbs tested.
Over the past couple of weeks, Victoria has had a recent spike in new COVID-19 cases and community transmission levels. Since Wednesday, June 17, new case numbers have hovered around 20 per day, but, in the past 24 hours, 33 have been recorded from a record high 20,304 tests. As a result, the government has announced it's ramping up testing even more — and it's honing in on ten suburbs in particular.
Called the Suburban Testing Blitz — because, knowing the Andrews Government's penchant for 'blitzes', of course it is — the ten-day effort will see 800 testers and mobile testing vans deployed to Melbourne suburbs that Premier Daniel Andrews says have "a community transmission problem" in a bid to test at least half of the suburbs' residents.
The hotspot suburbs the government will be targeting are: Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Sunshine West, Albanvale, Hallam, Brunswick West, Reservoir, Pakenham and Fawkner. The government is hoping to test 10,000 people a day in these areas and will kick off the blitz in Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows, which it says are the two priority suburbs.
"We're asking locals in these areas — particularly if you have symptoms — please come forward and get tested. See it as your civic duty. See it as your contribution to keeping your local area and our whole community safe," the Premier said in a statement.
The Premier has previously said that lockdowns in specific hotspot areas — ie the above ten suburbs — could be reintroduced if community transmission continued to increase, but hopes the testing blitz will help to avoid this.
"We don't want to have to move to local lockdowns. We know the impact that would have on businesses and on families," the Premier said. "But we do need to get a comprehensive sense of how this virus might be spreading."
In conjunction with the suburb-specific blitz, the government is also ramping up testing across the state at its 135 testing centres. It has launched ten additional drive-through sites, as well as a mass-testing centre at the Melbourne Showgrounds, and has a team of 1000 doorknockers hitting the streets to educate the public about coronavirus.
Before the naming of the ten hotspot suburbs today, the focus was on the six larger local government areas: Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has previously discouraged Victorians from visiting these areas, saying "the AHPPC strongly discourages travel to and from those areas until control of community transmission has been confirmed" in a statement released earlier in the week.
Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services also has an interactive map of the state's confirmed cases by local government area, which it updates daily. This is what it looked like as of 6.52am on Wednesday, June 24.
The rising Victorian case numbers have already sparked action at the state government level. Victoria's State of Emergency has been extended for four more weeks, and Premier Daniel Andrews also announced the tightening of some gathering restrictions — reintroducing smaller caps on at-home groups, gatherings out of the house and the numbers of patrons allowed in venues.
At the time of writing, Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services advises that there have been 241 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that have been acquired through unknown transmission — and there are currently 141 active cases in Victoria.
For more information about the state of COVID-19 in Victoria, head to the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Published on June 25, 2020 by Samantha Teague