Four new cases in Preston outbreak as health department urges widespread testing


The department is also testing a number of secondary close contacts at Sirius College and Ilim College. They are connected to separate close contacts who will be tested again over this weekend.

Testing sites continued to operate across Broadmeadows, Coolaroo, Craigieburn, Heidelberg, Greensborough, Preston and Fawkner. Rapid response testing teams and engagement teams have also provided testing and information at ‘The Mall’ and Malahang Reserve with more than 80 people attending.

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The department has sent text messages to residents of Melbourne’s northern suburbs including Dallas, Roxburgh Park, Broadmeadows, Preston and West Heidelberg urging those who were experiencing symptoms to get tested.

Victoria’s commander of testing and community engagement, Jeroen Weimar, said while it may be Grand Final day, work does not stop and the department’s teams will continue to provide community support and testing sites will continue to operate.

“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the East Preston Islamic College which has taken the precaution to close for the next 14 days and providing regular updates to their students and families. The College is leading their community through this difficult time and is to be commended.

“I am so grateful to our community leaders for working with us to keep people safe. I have held several sessions over the last two days to listen and act on the advice from leading community members. We are all Victorians working together to keep this virus away from our families.”

East Preston Islamic College principal Ekrem Ozyurek said on Thursday that the boy attended classes on Monday and Tuesday while he was still deemed a close contact of family members who had tested positive to the coronavirus in recent weeks.

“He had other siblings that were cleared of the virus on the 17th [of October],” he said.

Mr Ozyurek said the child was sent for day-11 testing on Tuesday and received a positive test on Wednesday.

The principal said he believed there had been a misunderstanding that led to the family sending their child to school.

“We’re not trying to find a fault in this one,” he said. “The best thing is to see what we can do from now on.”

A community health door-knocking program started on Thursday morning with more than 89 houses approached and 31 tests conducted as additional pop-up testing sites promised for the Hume, Banyule and Darebin areas in the coming days.

More to come.

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