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Melbourne aged care worker tests positive to coronavirus as Victoria records five new local cases

A Melbourne aged care worker is one of five new community cases of coronavirus announced in Victoria.

Arcare Maidstone, in Melbourne’s west, said on Sunday a worker who had received their first dose of a vaccine has tested positive to the virus and the facility was in lockdown.

The home said the woman last worked on 27 May, and that she was wearing a mask and did not have any symptoms at the time.

The woman is said to have been contagious on both 26 and 27 May.

Arcare said “a significant number” of residents have already had their first dose of the vaccine and the home was “well prepared” for an outbreak.

The five new community cases announced on Sunday came from more than 45,000 tests, and bring the number of active infections in the state to 49.

Of the five new cases, two are previously identified primary close contacts who have been isolating during their infectious period. One is linked to an exposure site, and investigations into the remaining two are underway.

One of the cases still under investigation is the Arcare worker – which Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said was of “extreme concern” to authorities.

“[Aged care is] the most vulnerable and sensitive setting that we have,” he told reporters. “I am concerned we don’t have an acquisition source.”

Mr Weimar said the state government had no access to data on the progress of the vaccine rollout in private residential aged care.

“We know of course that anybody who has family in aged care will be particularly concerned – we will be working closely with them,” he said.

The number of exposure sites in the state has grown past 170 and includes locations at Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre.

In addition to the new local cases, one extra infection has been recorded in hotel quarantine.

Today’s numbers follow five new local infections reported on Saturday from a record 56,624 tests.

‘Angry and disappointed’

Meanwhile, acting premier James Merlino has announced a $250 million support package aimed at helping around 90,000 Victorian businesses hard hit by the new lockdown, including cafes, licensed venues, and operators in the events industry.

The ‘Circuit Breaker Business Support Package’, for small to medium-sized businesses and sole traders, will run until 11.59pm on 3 June, when the lockdown is slated to end.

During the announcement, Mr Merlino repeatedly hit out at the federal government for not pledging support for Victorians now in their fourth lockdown of the pandemic.

He said “multiple requests” for help over recent days had been knocked back.

“We needed Canberra to come to the table and I am very sorry to say that they have refused to do that,” he told reporters.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said the federal government had “forgotten” Victorian workers.

“I am angry and I am disappointed,” he said.

Mr Merlino said on Sunday he could not confirm whether the lockdown would be lifted at the end of Thursday, saying it “remains a day-by-day proposition”.

“The number of cases, the type of cases, whether they are mystery cases, the number of exposure sites, the pace of transmission … all of those things are taken into account. We are still in the early days,” he said.

With AAP.

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