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Australia Why Victoria's coronavirus community transmission cases are causing concern

10:30  01 august  2020
10:30  01 august  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Victoria has recorded 397 new cases of coronavirus and a further three deaths, highlighting growing concern for “mystery cases ” that can not be “It is a very cunning enemy as well. But particularly those community transmission cases are of greatest concern to us. “That is why we find ourselves

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At Saturday's coronavirus briefing in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews stressed his "growing concern" over the rise in cases where authorities could not figure out how someone had caught the virus.

Classified by Victorian health authorities as "community transmission", they are cases where, despite the efforts of contact tracing teams over several days, or sometimes weeks, they can not trace the infection back to the "index case" or original source.

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Victoria , NSW and Queensland are now battling local transmission of coronavirus , and each of them is discovering limitations with contact tracing. That' s by far the biggest increase in community transmissions recorded in the state. But those cases relate to infections first found days ago, so it is

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Mr Andrews said 49 more such "mystery" cases had been added to the community transmission tally in the past day.

"Forty-nine doesn't necessarily seem such a large number but 49 mysteries when it could be much more than that because you can't find who that original case was, that is a significant concern to us," he said.

Of the 10,931 coronavirus cases recorded in Victoria since the pandemic began, 1,841 — about 17 per cent — have so far been classified as community transmission.

And 49 isn't even the biggest increase this week.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) afternoon update stated the number of probable community transmission cases was 1,418.

The next day, that had risen to 1,698, a jump of 280 cases, which suggested a large number of contact tracing investigations had been closed with the source of infection unknown.

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Meanwhile, Victoria ' s coronavirus outbreak has interrupted the set of the television program Mr Andrews said the state had recorded 27 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state's total to 121. He said only two community transmissions had been recorded in Victoria so far, which was

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And the number of cases classified as community transmission jumped by nearly 100 between Thursday and Friday.

Mr Andrews said one of the reasons these cases mattered so much was because when the infection couldn't be traced, it left open the possibility that somewhere, someone was unwittingly spreading the virus.

"That can mean there are many more than 49 out there that have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, they can be at the height of their infectivity, and be infecting other people unbeknownst to them," he said.

"That is the real challenge here. It is a silent enemy, it is a very cunning enemy as well."

It could be the main reason restrictions are tightened

And it's one of the reasons why the Government looks set to introduce further restrictions in Victoria beyond the six-week lockdown in Melbourne and the restrictions on visitors across the Geelong and Colac region.

Health experts have been poring over the state's coronavirus data, looking at population demographics to pinpoint where transmission needs to be driven down, in addition to already identified workplaces such as aged care homes, abattoirs and healthcare settings.

On Friday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton acknowledged that tighter restrictions would create their own public health harm as they hit mental health, employment and businesses.

"These are impossible decisions in a number of ways," he said.

But on Saturday, Mr Andrews was clear: "Numbers are too high and there is a growing case for us to do more."

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