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Extensive testing in Colac after COVID-19 spike in town Coronavirus cases: Richard Riordan MP

CORONAVIRUS cases in the Colac region have steadied after an alarming surge, but Barwon Health says it is likely more cases will emerge and the situation is being monitored closely.

Coronavirus cases in the area jumped after an abattoir worker tested positive last week.

Cases in Colac-Otway increased from no confirmed cases last Friday to 12 by Monday, and then soared to 27 on Tuesday.

But a case was removed and brought the total to 26 on Wednesday, and the tally remained stable on Thursday.

The number of cases linked with the outbreak at the Australian Lamb Company in Colac increased from 17 on Wednesday to 29 on Thursday following public health investigations.

A contractor from an abattoir in Warrnambool is also linked to the outbreak.

Barwon Health Infectious Diseases director Eugene Athan said the industry was known to be high risk due to long shifts and staff working along a production line.

“This makes social distancing impossible in many places, as machines and platforms are permanently installed at set work stations,” Prof Athan said.

He said there had been extensive testing in the Colac community and the entire meatworks workforce had been tested.

Positive cases in Colac were all linked to known cases and there was no evidence of community transmission, Prof Athan said.

“It is likely more cases will emerge and we are monitoring this very closely,” he said.

Since the first case connected with the Colac abattoir outbreak was established, about 2000 tests have been conducted in the area.

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