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COVID outbreak spreads

THE total number of cases for the COVID-19 outbreak in Hamilton now stands at 26 following the announcement of eight new cases on Wednesday morning.

Over 1000 people have heeded the call to ‘get tested’, in response to a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a country music event at the Hamilton Golf Club on Sunday, November 14.

On Tuesday, the cluster had grown to 18, with 14 of those having attended the music event in person, three were household contacts and one was a workplace contact.

With the new eight cases, it was not yet known if they were linked to the previous cases; contact tracing has commenced, and the details have not yet been made available.

Meanwhile, three people remained in a Geelong hospital in a stable condition.

WDHS chief executive, Rohan Fitzgerald said on Tuesday he was pleased the community response to getting tested had been excellent.

“With hundreds of tests yet to be returned, it is likely that more cases will be identified,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“We’ve had an incredible community response at our mass testing clinic today (Tuesday), with our team conducting 518 PCR (pathology) and 120 rapid antigen tests - all rapid antigen tests were negative.

“I appreciate that some people waited for lengthy periods of time and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

“The testing team did an amazing job responding to the significant workload and despite the record-breaking numbers maintained good spirits and a can-do attitude. A big thank you to the drive-thru team for their work, commitment and dedication.

“I am also incredibly grateful to our wonderful community for their positivity and understanding at the Showgrounds.

“Teams from Warrnambool and Geelong arrived to support the local testing team … and will remain in Hamilton for the next few days. We are very appreciative of their support.”

Mr Fitzgerald emphasised the availability of testing would make the process as quick as possible for locals.

“The Lab in Van testing unit will also be on site … to facilitate the fast-tracking of priority tests,” he said.

“The mass-testing clinic will operate from the Hamilton Showgrounds for the remainder of the week … please visit our website for updated testing times.

“Each outbreak is different and this one has presented unique challenges, primarily related to the vulnerability of those infected. Today’s testing numbers show the community’s willingness to do what they can, to get the outbreak under control and to protect those who would be most impacted by the virus.”

The outbreak has led the Southern Grampians Shire Council to change entry requirements for the Hamilton Indoor Leisure and Aquatic Centre which will also affect some local community sport (see back page for details).

Mr Fitzgerald said the good news was the potential exposure site at Birches had not led to any further cases at this stage.

“On a positive note, all tests for Birches aged care staff and residents have come back negative,” he said.

“Nine residents remain in precautions until they return a second negative test result in the next few days.

“Please get tested if you have symptoms, and if you are yet to get vaccinated, or are due for a booster shot, please visit your GP or pharmacy.

“If you are isolating and need assistance with groceries or other necessities, please call the Helping Hands hotline on 1800 943 131 between the hours of 9am and 4pm, or email

Statewide yesterday, there were 1196 cases acquired locally in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 9774 active cases.

There were also three deaths in 24 hours, bringing the death total since March 2020 to 1301, and 103,868 have recovered.

Mr Fitzgerald had specific advice for those who had attended exposure sites.

“Some people in the community have asked what they should do if they went to the Cally on (last) Thursday night,” he said.

“To clarify, anyone who attended the Cally during the exposure period (shown below) must test and isolate for seven days from the date of exposure (if you are fully vaccinated) and get a test on day six.”

Tier 1 exposure site

November 18, Caledonian Hotel, 153 Thompson Street, Hamilton – 5.00-7.30pm.

If you are fully vaccinated - test and isolate for seven days from the date of exposure and get a test on day six.

For the purposes of calculating the days you are required to isolate, Thursday, November 18 is considered day zero, which means you must have your second test on Wednesday, November 24.

If you are not fully vaccinated (12 years and older) get tested - isolate for 14 days from the date of exposure and get a test on day 13.

For the purposes of calculating the days you are required to isolate, Thursday, November 18 is considered day zero, which means you must have your second test on Wednesday, December 1.

Other high-risk venues

A confirmed case of COVID-19 attended these sites on the days / times listed below.

If you were at one of the high-risk venues at these times, it was strongly recommended to get tested.

November 15, Hamilton Medical Group, 20 Foster Street Hamilton – 10.45am-11.10am

November 17, Hamilton Uniting Church, 113 Lonsdale Street, Hamilton – 10.00-11.00am.

November 18, All Abilities Equestrian Centre, 19 Laidlaws Road, Warrong – 10.45am-12.05pm.

November 18, Grampians Accountancy Service, 62 Gray Street, Hamilton – 3.15-3.30pm

November 18, Botanical Motel, 75 French Street, Hamilton – 5.00-6.05pm.

November 19, Hamilton Medical Group, 20 Foster Street Hamilton – 11.00am – 12.00pm & 12.30-2.30pm

November 19, Izzy’s Restaurant, 71 Gray Street, Hamilton – 7.30-11.30pm.

November 20, Nutrien Ag, 58 North Boundary Road, Hamilton – 9.00am–12.00pm.

The WDHS advised with exposure site management they were changing the way they respond to exposure sites in the community with a focus now on Tier One sites and only high-risk sites.

If a school has a COVID-19 exposure within the school community, the WDHS recommended you contact the school for further instructions or for any questions.

If the Public Health Unit have all contacts of an exposure site, or if an exposure site affects staff only, the location/venue will not be listed by the WDHS.

Other high-risk venues will not be listed on the Department of Health website and if you have even the mildest symptoms please come forward and get tested.

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