CLUSTER GROWS: ALC closes amid Colac COVID-19 outbreak

Colac’s COVID-19 outbreak has grown to at least 15 cases, and led to a precautionary shutdown of one of Colac’s largest employers.

State authorities yesterday announced six new cases for Colac, on top of five cases on Saturday and four cases last week.

Victoria’s COVID commander Jeroen Weimar said at yesterday morning’s briefing that there were now 15 active cases in Colac. That is up from nine cases on Saturday.

“Still 300 test results to come back, particularly around the exposure site of the Australian Lamb Company. That site remains closed,” he said.

Mr Weimar thanked the Colac community and Colac Area Health for a quick response to the outbreak.

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All cases have known links to confirmed positive cases.

Speaking at Saturday’s briefing, Mr Weimar indicated Colac’s cases were linked to social gatherings, potentially on AFL grand final night.

“What we’ve seen are social gatherings again, dare I say grand final parties, which have caused the spread of those cases so far in Colac.”

The positive cases include employees of Colac’s Australian Lamb Company, but health authorities believe they caught the virus at social gatherings away from work.

The company has temporarily shut down the Colac site as a precaution as it awaits the results of widespread testing among staff.

“Health authorities have confirmed there’s ‘no evidence so far of transmission at ALC’s Colac site’ and that ‘positive cases in Colac’ were due to community transmission,” an ALC spokesperson said.

“Although we have a small number of cases, the exposure of our workers to community transmission is of major concern.

“Consequently, in consultation with DHHS and Barwon Health, we have moved to shut down our facility to protect our workforce and limit the spread.

“We will use the down time productively to continue to vaccinate our work-ers.

“We expect to have 85 per cent of our workforce fully vaccinated by this Wednesday.

“Again, we’d like to thank all of our workers and their families for their ongoing adherence to COVID-19 management protocols and a safety-first approach.”

ALC’s positive cases included close contacts of the first case in Colac’s current outbreak. That person was not a current ALC employee.

COVID-19 testing continued at a pop-up drive-through clinic at Colac’s Central Reserve over the weekend.

See page 2 for more COVID-19 news.

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