Melbourne’s new COVID-19 case teacher at Al -Taqwa College, Truganina, in city’s west

A new case of COVID-19 has been detected in Victoria, with the health department confirming the positive case is a teacher at Al-Taqwa College in Melbourne’s west.

Contact tracers are still tracking how the person caught the virus, and the household contacts of the positive case are being urgently tested.

The Truganina school will close and all 300 staff members and 2100 students are being advised to isolate and get tested.

Anyone who lives with those staff members and students must also isolate for 14 days.

Al-Taqwa College spokesman Terry Barnes said the school was well prepared.

“Al-Taqwa College has done everything in its power and more to comply with government instructions and directions since this pandemic started,” he said.

“It did it through the long lockdown last year, through the major outbreak last year, it’s doing it again now.”

Mr Barnes said the school had moved very quickly to follow the directions of the department, having learnt from its experiences of dealing with COVID-19 last year.

“We want to make sure that everybody at the school, at the college, gets back into the classroom as quickly as possible, and hopefully at the end of the fortnight they will be doing exactly that,” he said.

In a statement, the school said the school campus was completely shut down while deep cleaning was arranged.

“Tomorrow (Thursday) will be a student-free day to enable staff to be tested. Online classes will resume on Friday 6 August until further notice,” it stated.

“Unless and until the Department advises us otherwise, we are locking down the College campus for the full 14-day precautionary period, therefore online classes will continue until Wednesday 18 August. Classes will resume face to face on Thursday 19 August.

“The College assures our families, staff and the Victorian community that we have done everything required by the Victorian government to implement Covid-19 protocols and precautions, as we have throughout this pandemic.”

Victoria’s COVID response Commander Jeroen Weimar told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Drive program the woman in her 20s lived in the Hobsons Bay local government area.

He said health officials believed she may have been infectious while teaching at the school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week.

He said she was tested on Tuesday and the result came back today.

Mr Weimar said authorities “always have a plan” when cases emerge.

“We have been through a number of these outbreaks in schools before, in very recent memory,” he said.

“They’re obviously a cause of significant anxiety for the school community.

“We have had some good conversations with the school leadership today, they have been hugely supportive and have done all the right things, as has the teacher.”

He said health authorities would work with the school in the coming days to work out “where the virus has come from, and if it’s gone any further”.

Last year, the school experienced a serious outbreak of COVID-19, with close to 150 people linked to Al-Taqwa College testing positive.

Meanwhile a new tier 2 exposure site was listed this afternoon — the first site added since July 31.

The exposure site is Coles supermarket in Yarraville between 4:30pm and 5:30pm on Thursday, July 29. People who were at the site during that time period are advised to get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Mr Weimar said it was likely more exposure sites would be released this evening.

Earlier today Victoria had been celebrating its first day without a locally acquired case in more than three weeks.

Nine people with COVID-19 remain in Victorian hospitals, including two in intensive care who are both on ventilators.

Most of the more than 40,000 primary and secondary close contacts who were ordered to quarantine during the outbreak have been released, with fewer than 3000 of those people remaining in isolation.

The state is now in its second week out of lockdown and the current restrictions, which include a ban on home visits and a mask mandate, are set to stay in place until 11:59pm next Tuesday.

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