Chadstone outbreak spreads to Kilmore as state records 15 new cases, one death

The Chadstone shopping centre coronavirus cluster may have spread as far as Benalla in the state's north, Premier Daniel Andrews says.

Twenty-eight people linked with the outbreak have now tested positive for COVID-19 including eight staff of the Butcher Club, 11 family and household members and four customers.

There are now two confirmed cases in Kilmore linked with a Melbourne resident who brought the virus to the area. The Kilmore cases are now being considered as a separate outbreak for logistical reasons.

The same person who brought the virus to Kilmore by visiting a cafe also went on to visit Benalla in the state's north where a number of people are now being tested.

"We hope that we don't end up with cases anywhere else out of this one," Mr Andrews said.

"The fact that [the outbreak] can go from Frankston to Benalla all the way up in the north-east, that just speaks as to how wildly infectious this virus is."

"One only has to spend a moment to imagine, if Chadstone were open at the moment, just how many more cases we might well be dealing with."

Mr Andrews has asked symptomatic Kilmore residents to get tested as soon as possible and not travel until they get their results.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was unhappy to see 15 new coronavirus cases recorded in the state on Tuesday, but has moved to reassure the public most new cases are being linked with known outbreaks. Seven are being investigated.

"I don't like to see a number that's in double figures and not in single figures, and no one obsesses over the daily numbers more than me or my team," he said.

"They are, again, predominantly related to known cases, to outbreaks, and we have to get on top of the outbreaks to really drive these numbers down."

One Victorian died of the virus in the past day. There are now 216 active cases in the state and 21 people fighting the virus in hospital, including one in intensive care.

Testing to track and trace the Chadstone outbreak has been stepped up and asymptomatic people will now be tested.

Professor Sutton said Chadstone shopping centre had walk-in asymptomatic testing and a drive-through in the car park for any symptomatic customers.

Anyone who has spent any time at any of the exposure sites listed below and develops symptoms should come forward for testing.

Tuesday's numbers bring Victoria's rolling 14-day average to 10.9.

That number needs to be lower than five – and there also need to be fewer than five mystery cases – for Melbourne to take the next step out of lockdown restrictions on October 19. On Tuesday there are 13 active mystery cases.

Professor Sutton has said he is unsure whether Victoria will meet the targets.

"My gut feeling is it will be a line ball. It's not certain one way or the other," he told reporters on Monday.

Professor Sutton confirmed on Monday that a person from metropolitan Melbourne connected to the Chadstone outbreak visited Oddfellows Cafe in Kilmore between 7am and 10am last Wednesday. The same person then went on to travel to Benalla.

The person had permission to travel to Kilmore for work, but visitors from Melbourne are not allowed to dine out if allowed into regional areas for permitted reasons.

Oddfellows Cafe confirmed a staff member had tested positive after being exposed to a customer with COVID-19.

Cafe owner Kim Short said she had made the decision to close her business until further notice, with all staff in quarantine after the "devastating" news.

"Please stay safe everyone, we are a small community that this could spread very quickly. If unsure stay home, get tested, I can't stress it enough."

On Monday, Ms Short expressed her frustration that her employees and other customers had been put at risk.

"We've worked so hard to keep our business open and following all the guidelines through the whole pandemic, to say I'm upset this has happened when it shouldn't is an understatement," she said.

The new case numbers come as the federal government prepares to deliver its budget on Tuesday evening.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Tuesday morning the nation now has a two-speed economy. "We have Victoria and we have the rest," he said.

"But, fortunately, in Victoria, the number of daily cases has been coming down, and those restrictions have started to ease. And that will see more people in Victoria get back to work, just as we've seen more people around the rest of the country get back to work," Mr Frydenberg said.

With Mary Ward

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