ANOTHER three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 have been detected overnight as long queues form again outside testing sites across Victoria.
A further additional case came from hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 36.
The Black Rock cluster in bayside Melbourne, seeded from NSW’s northern beaches outbreak, prompted a swift crackdown by the state government on border rules last week.
More than 60,000 Victorians rushed back from NSW as a hard border between the two states came into effect on Friday night. All were required to be tested on their return.
That’s put facilities under strain, forcing some sites to extend testing hours and staff to be recalled from holidays to meet the extra demand.
Testing capacity was boosted by almost half, taking total sites on Sunday to 190.
It is expected to increase further on Monday, although DHHS listed wait times of over two hours for Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (240 minutes), Darebin Arts Centre (185) and Chadstone – Golfers Drive (150).
Premier Daniel Andrews, away on leave, urged returning Victorians to follow individual advice from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“If you need support to isolate – whether that’s financial, food or anything else – call the hotline and we’ll make sure you get it,” he tweeted on Monday.
People seeking an exemption to travel have been directed to call the helpline, but were told to call back because of a high volume of calls on Sunday.
The line was still unavailable to callers on Monday morning.
More than 1500 Victorians have applied for exemptions to the state’s border closure with NSW, but so far authorities have granted just 117.
Applications are taking up to 48 hours to consider. Nearly half have had further documentation requested.
Meanwhile, Melbourne’s Federation Square and several major shopping stores have been added to Victoria’s growing list of exposure sites.
A case attended the CBD hub on 23 December from 11am to 11.30am. Anyone who attended the site at those times should monitor for symptoms, and undergo testing and isolate if they develop.
The same advice applies to those who visited IKEA Springvale from 4pm to 6pm on December 29, as well as Kmart and Coles in Burwood East the day before at specific times.
For a full list of current exposure sites visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/case-locations-and-outbreaks.