FAMILIES at St Joseph's Primary School have been told they must get tested for COVID-19 as the situation at the school has progressed to an "outbreak".
Principal Joan Coldwell alerted families of the Bendigo Health advice in a letter on Wednesday afternoon.
"The updated advice provided to the school is due to these increasing numbers of positive cases in our community, a recommendation is that all remaining students and staff at St Joseph's Primary School be tested for COVID-19," Ms Coldwell said in the letter.
Bendigo Health and the Department of Health and Human Services advised all families should then isolate until August 12, Ms Coldwell said.
Household contacts should also get tested if they develop any coronavirus symptoms.
"Due to this recent advice, students will not be able to collect any items from the school until after August 12," Ms Coldwell said.
THERE are six COVID-19 cases connected to St Joseph's Primary School, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said.
The department did not clarify whether the new case was a student or staff member at the school.
MORE students at St Joseph's Primary School have tested positive to COVID-19, but Catholic Education Office Sandhurst says it cannot confirm how many.
Director Paul Desmond said on Wednesday that there was a "small increase" in the number of students who tested positive to coronavirus at the Quarry Hill school.
But Mr Desmond said health authorities had not shared the number of coronavirus cases with the education office.
There were five cases linked to the school on Tuesday - two students and three teachers.
Department of Health and Human Services data released on Wednesday showed four new COVID-19 cases in the Greater Bendigo region. Six new cases were also reported in the Macedon Ranges Shire.
A DHHS spokesperson said the department was looking into cases linked to St Joseph's Primary School in Quarry Hill.
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"More information will be available in coming days as investigations continue," the spokesperson said.
Mr Desmond said any increase in COVID-19 cases was concerning.
"One child contracting coronavirus is too many," he said. "However the report I have received doesn't reflect that the increase in numbers is an enormous one at this point in time."
St Joseph's principal Joan Coldwell wrote to families about the new cases on Wednesday.
"My first thoughts are for the students and their families, and I hope that they keep well," she said in the letter.
"I have spoken to the director of the public health unit from Bendigo Health this morning and she said her team will continue with contact tracing today.
"I will continue to be in touch with her throughout the day."
Bendigo Health began contact tracing at the Quarry Hill school late on Monday afternoon, five days after the first confirmed coronavirus case at the school.
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Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner said the state government initially took the lead in contact tracing positive cases and close contacts.
"I am aware of the anxiety in our community and the frustration with the process but I have been working closely with the appropriate authorities and have been acting on the advice I have been given," Ms Coldwell said in the letter to families.
"I am very sorry that this has happened and I have appreciated your support."
It came after a student at Sacred Heart College in Kyneton tested positive to COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The school has been closed to all students, staff members, and visitors until at least Thursday.
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