BENDIGO has recorded COVID-19 fragments in wastewater, the Department of Health says.
It says the ping concerns a period between 16 and 20 September.
The fragments could suggest undiscovered cases or could be the result of one or more people in the area who have recovered from coronavirus.
A Mount Alexander Shire resident did visit Bendigo late last week before discovering they had COVID-19, triggering a huge surge in testing among people.
It is unclear whether the fragments are connected with the Mount Alexander Shire case.
"Anyone who lives in, works in or has visited the areas above is urged to watch for the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms and get tested as soon as possible if symptoms develop," the department has said in a statement.
COVID-19 fragments have also been discovered in wastewater from an area encompassing Macedon, Mt Macedon and New Gisborne.
The department believes those fragments relate to a period between 15 and 20 September.
A NEW exposure site has been listed in St Arnaud, west of Bendigo.
The East Wimmera Health Service confirmed the St Arnaud Caltex/Tasco Service Station on the Sunraysia Highway was listed as a tier two site.
A COVID-positive person visited the service station between 12.20pm and 1pm on September 12 and between 6pm and 6.40pm on September 13.
Anyone who attended the site during those exposure periods should get a COVID-19 test and isolate until they receive a negative result.
The East Wimmera Health Service said there would be a drive-up testing service at the St Arnaud Campus from 9am on Wednesday.
People seeking testing should avoid calling the hospital on Tuesday, and instead start their isolation period before attending the drive-up clinic on Wednesday.
The Macedon Ranges Shire has one new case of coronavirus.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton said the case is linked to Melbourne and is one of 10 new cases in regional Victoria.
No new cases have been recorded in Greater Bendigo or the Mount Alexander Shire.
As well as Macedon Ranges, cases were recorded in the Mitchell Shire (3), the Mooroobool Shire (3), Ballarat (1), Greater Geelong (1) and the Bass Coast (1).
Dr Sutton's update came as health minister Martin Foley and Victoria treasurer Tim Pallas addressed media in relation to the shutdown of construction sites across the state.
Teh construction shutdown is in effect for metropolitan Melbourne and regional LGAs that are currently lockdown down including Ballarat, Geelong, Mitchell and Surf Coast shires.
Mr Foley said poor compliance at construction sites resulted in cases spreading and the industry being forced to shutdown.
"(There is) no choice but to hit the pause button and work with the sector in next two weeks to improve compliance and COVID safety to slow the spread of the virus to protect the workforce, their families and the wider community," Mr Foley said.
"We stood here almost every day for several weeks to talk about the outbreak and focus on construction sector. We reflected on poor level compliance from health directions and COVID safe principals and practices.
"The public health team analysed the spread in the industry and how it lead to the public health team's decision to take the measures it has over night."
Mr Foley said 403 cases were linked to 186 construction sites with 151 of those sites in Melbourne. Forty-nine of the case live in regional Victoria, mostly in the Ballarat, Geelong and Mitchell shires.
"One particular site had more than 150 direct cases linked to its operations," he said. "Multiple cases (from construction sites) have seeded from metropolitan Melbourne into the regions given the highly mobile, young workforce."
Reported yesterday: 603 new local cases and 0 cases acquired overseas.— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) September 20, 2021
- 40,811 vaccines administered
- 48,829 test results received
- Sadly, 1 person with COVID-19 has died
More later: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic#COVID19VicDatapic.twitter.com/SFzVIY0S4K
Mr Pallas said he understood the effect this would have on workers and families but that it was a necessary decision.
"It is a sad day in many ways for a lot of construction workers and people doing right thing," he said. "But unfortunately, the abhorrent behaviour among (a small number of people) has lead to a public health risk.
"What we have seen is a need for the government to intervene and take strong action consistent chief health officer orders
"I recognise a number workers and builders are doing right thing. For them this will be a source of disappointment and economic trauma. We haven't taken these steps lightly and are conscious of the implication.
"Ultimately the government was left with no alternative but to shut the industry down."
Sites will have a limited number of staff allowed on site in emergency situations or to attended to essential work to help shut construction sites down.
It is anticipated the construction industry will reopen on October 5.
Mr Pallas said the two weeks could also be used to ensure construction workers are vaccinated with one dose of COVID vaccine.
"The process of demobilising sites has commence immediately," he said. "Amnesty is so a limited number can attend to assure demobilisation is done safely.
"It is a difficult task to close this industry down and will be equally challenging to start it up again.
"From 11.59pm on September 23, all construction workers require one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Given the shutdown we are able to ensure the requirement is met in time for October 5, which is the anticipated opening."
VICTORIA has recorded 603 new COVID-19 cases - all locally acquired - since Monday.
It is the first time since August 4, Victoria has recorded more than 600 cases in a day. That day saw 686 cases in the state - the highest daily tally Victoria has seen.
The new cases take Victoria's active coronavirus case tally to 6000.
Monday also saw the state administer 40,811 coronavirus vaccines and 48,829 test results received.
Wait times for COVID-19 testing in Bendigo on Monday were between four and six hours at the Bendigo Showgrounds site.
The overwhelming number of people ling up for tests saw Bendigo Health close its testing sties early.
Strathfieldsaye's testing site also closed early after hundreds of people lined up for tests, overwhelming staff.
The exposure sites listed in Bendigo were linked to a new case found in the Mount Alexander Shire.
The case was related to a work site in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
People hoping to get tested in Bendigo on Tuesday will be able to attend the drive-through testing site at the showgrounds from 8.30am to 6pm and the walk-in clinic on McLaren Street from 10am to 6pm.
Bendigo Health is also reminding people they only need to be tested if they were at exposure sites on days and times listed by the Department of Health.
Bendigo Health urged people to bring their own food and water in case they had to wait hours for a test and to be patient and kind to staff during the wait.
To save time during testing, people can register their details through COVID Test Tracker - an online State Government service.
The form gives people a unique registration number, which can be used for multiple tests during a 90-day period.
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