Schools in Geelong and Wyndham that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 will be among the first in Victoria to receive rapid antigen test kits.
The Andrews government is deploying 200,000 of the kits to schools to help unvaccinated children return to class, while they wait for formal approval for 5-12 year olds to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
More than half-a-dozen schools in Corio, Hamlyn Heights and Wyndham are currently dealing with outbreaks of 10 people or more.
Northern Bay College’s Wexford campus in Corio is dealing with Victoria’s largest hotspot with 53 active cases.
The school’s Goldsworthy 9-12 campus, also at Corio, has 18 cases.
There are 16 active cases at Tarneit’s Islamic College of Melbourne, 15 at nearby Baden Powell College and 14 at Covenant College in Bell Post Hill.
Wyndham Christian College at Wyndham Vale, Hamlyn Views School at Hamlyn Heights and Hamlyn Banks Primary School all have 10 cases or more.
The 20 worst-affected schools will be first in the queue for rapid antigen tests, which will be offered to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students if they become primary close contacts of a positive case.
Students who test positive will be asked to quarantine for seven days and will be permitted to return if they test negative after day six.
Hairdresser joins exposure site list
A hairdressing salon in Geelong West is the latest Geelong business to find itself on the Tier One exposure site list.
Hidden Minx Hair Studio, in Hope Street, has been advised that a positive case attended the venue last Tuesday, November 2.
Anyone who was at Hidden Minx between 10am and 1.30pm on that day is required to get tested and isolate for seven days if they are fully vaccinated, or 14 days if they have had one or no COVID-19 shots.
The salon is one of four current Tier One sites in the Geelong/Wyndham region.
It comes as Geelong’s active tally passes 400 following the detection of 37 additional cases yesterday.
In some encouraging news, every council across Geelong, Wyndham and the Bellarine Peninsula has now passed the 90 per cent double-vaccination rate.
Queenscliffe and the Surf Coast Shire lead the way with fully-vaccinated rates over 95 per cent.
Wyndham continues its extraordinary climb from being one of Victoria’s least-vaccinated local government areas to one of the highest, with a double-dose rate of 93 per cent.
||New cases – 24 hours
||Single vax %
||Double vax %
Barwon Health braces for summer spike
Barwon Health is warning of an expected jump in COVID-19 cases in Geelong as vacation-starved Victorians head for the coast over the coming summer.
But the local health authority says it is confident it has sufficient measures in place to deal with any increase.
Geelong and the Surf Coast are traditional summer holiday favourites but the rush is expected to be bigger than ever as Victorians continue to take advantage of their newly rediscovered freedoms.
The number of people on the Surf Coast triples to around 90,000 over the Christmas holidays, while the Bellarine Peninsula population more than doubles.
With up to 200,000 visitors expected to visit the region during the warmer weather, there is a strong likelihood of a surge in local COVID-19 cases.
Director of the Barwon South West Public Health Unit, Professor Eugene Athan, said he did not expect tourist numbers to have a major impact on hospital admissions.
“We have anticipated an increase in Melbourne residents in the Barwon South West region, and we expect this will increase the number of local cases,” Professor Athan said.
“Fortunately, we don’t expect this will significantly impact our hospital admissions, due to our high vaccination rate and the less severe symptoms experienced by children.”
Professor Athan said Barwon Health was working with its regional partners to develop a response to COVID outbreaks.
“We are confident that we have appropriate plans in place to manage any increased workload from COVID or summer tourists, including additional bed capacity, staffing redeployments when necessary, and new clinics if required.
“A high vaccination rate across the region has given us the best possible level of protection against COVID and we encourage anyone yet to be fully vaccinated to make an appointment as soon as possible.”
From gloom to boom: retailers predict a very merry Christmas
Retailers are bracing for a Christmas spending boom as the national economy bounces back from the latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Deloitte’s annual retailers Christmas survey has found 80 per cent of retail businesses are expecting to see sales growth over the coming holiday period, 20 percentage points higher than at this time in 2020.
More than half expect a rapid snap-back, while 60 per cent say more than half of their Christmas sales will be digitally enabled in some way.
“Digital offerings are likely here to stay, but Christmas has always been about the physical shopping experience,” said Deloitte’s David White.
“As the vaccine-led reopening and recovery takes hold and retailers welcome cashed-up customers back to their stores, they finally feel they have something to be optimistic about.”
Local exposure sites – Updated 0900, 9 November 2021 (NOTE: DHHS no longer publishes all exposure sites)
New additions in bold type.
|Geelong West, Hidden Minx Hair Studio
||80A Hope Street
|Belmont, Oz Tenpin Bowling
||19 reynolds Road
||174 Torquay Road
|Geelong, Shiraaz Indian Restaurant
||48 Malop Street
Tier 1: Get tested immediately, qurantine for 14 days from date of exposure
Tier 2: Get tested urgently, ioslate until you have a negative test result