By Luke Voogt
Geelong and neighbouring municipalities have recorded 54 new COVID-19 cases in a week, according to the Department of Health and Services.
Twenty new cases in Geelong and an outbreak at Colac’s Australian Lamb Company abattoir drove the seven-day increase.
The Colac Otway Shire this week recorded its first 26 cases since the pandemic began, with 29 cases in total linked to the abattoir outbreak, including some now outside the shire.
Greater Geelong had 97 cases (since the pandemic began), including 23 active, at midnight on Wednesday, up on 77 including eight active the week before.
The increase includes six new cases in the 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday.
The G21 region had 64 active cases as of midnight on Wednesday, including eight in the Golden Plains and four on the Surf Coast.
In response Barwon Health has ramped up testing in a bid to contain and trace COVID-19 in the region.
In late May and early June the health provider was testing about 160 people per day – that has risen to 500 per day at its clinics over the past fortnight.
“There are other health providers also undertaking testing,” Barwon Health communications director Kate Bibby said.
“Barwon Health has undertaken more than 36,600 COVID-19 tests in the Geelong region this year.”
Meanwhile, Grovedale West Primary School and Clonard College closed for the rest of this week following confirmed COVID-19 cases in students.
DHHS confirmed a Clonard College student tested positive for COVID-19, principal Luci Quinn said in an email to parents.
Grovedale West Primary School closed on Monday as authorities investigated a reported positive case but reopened on Tuesday.
The school closed again today due to a student testing positive, the Department of Education and Training confirmed.
“Grovedale West Primary School will close for all students and staff for at least 72 hours, effective Thursday, July 23, so that contact tracing and cleaning can occur,” a department spokesperson said.
“We wish the student a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming them back to school once they’ve recovered.”
The spokesperson said the confirmed case that caused today’s closure was separate to Monday’s reported case.
“The current closure at Grovedale West Primary School is unrelated to the precautionary closure of the school on Monday.”
Another four men, aged from their 50s to 90s, and a woman aged in her 70s have died from coronavirus, bringing the Victorian death toll to 49.
No one in the Geelong region has died from the virus but one patient remained in intensive care with the disease at University Hospital Geelong, Barwon Health confirmed.
Victoria recorded 403 new cases with 17 reclassified, largely due to duplication, increasing the state total by 386 to 7125 as of midnight on Wednesday.
Of the new cases, 69 are linked to outbreaks or complex cases, and 334 are under investigation.
Victoria has 3630 active cases with 1154 cases from unknown transmission.