Australia

Contact tracing is on track, but Victoria is still facing a transmission battle

Both Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton are on the move to recover the state as the system stands firmly against the pressure of recent clusters at Chadstone, Kilmore, Frankston, and Box Hill Hospital. He states that he is threatening to go crazy.

“These outbreaks are handled very well. Otherwise, we wouldn’t report 12 or an average of 10 cases a day, and we would report a significant number of them.” Andrews said.

Victoria recorded 12 new cases on Tuesday. Seven of them are being investigated for association with the 14 swelling Box Hill Hospital clusters. Two cases are also believed to be associated with the development of 35 infected Chadstones. A man in his 70s also died of the virus.

The state’s 14-day average is now 10 in Melbourne and 0.4 in Victoria.

Professor Mark Stove, head of public health at Burnet’s Lab, said the success of Victorian contact tracing also depends on social distance and compliance with hygiene guidelines such as wearing a face mask. ..

Coronavirus test results should also be returned within 12 hours, and the extensive contact tracing process should be completed within 24 hours, he said.

“Generally my opinion is yes, it depends on scratch,” said Professor Stoové.

“The Victoria State Government has done a great deal of work over the past few months to enhance contact tracing systems. They have improved their IT systems and efficiently assigned cases to contract tracers. I think these improvements should be in a pretty good position to detect cases and follow up on close contact. “

Professor Stoové estimated that contact tracing was overwhelming at more than 100 cases a day.

“Getting more than 100 actually puts a strain on those systems,” he said.

Premiere said Tuesday that Victoria’s response to future outbreaks would be characterized by a more aggressive approach to outbreak management, including asymptomatic testing at high-risk sites. Andrews defended the handling of the Kilmore outbreak, where locals complained about contact tracing delays and conflicting advice from public health authorities.

Given that both states currently record about the same number of daily cases, Professor Sutton said the situation was “very much” when asked why Victoria could not immediately relax to the same level of restrictions as NSW. It’s different. “

“”[NSW has] We have followed a small number of cases in the last few months, “said Professor Sutton.

“If we started with a few days of proceedings … it wasn’t that difficult, but we could have approached it in a completely different way. 20,000 in a few weeks. There were. I think the remaining transmission routes in Victoria are some of the most difficult in the world. “

Professor Sutton also returned to Victoria’s strict fourth-stage blockade, despite conflicting advice from the World Health Organization on the legitimacy of the blockade to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Dr. David Navarro, WHO’s special envoy for coronavirus, said on Monday that blockades should not be used as the primary control method.

“The only time we believe the blockade is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, reorganize and readjust your resources; your exhausted healthcare professional. Protects, “he said.

“The blockade has one consequence that it should never be underestimated. It makes the poor terribly poor.”

But Professor Sutton said the state is not trying to use a blockade strategy in the long run.

“We followed a strategy of not using blockades intermittently. We are using the limits currently in place to reduce the number of cases,” he said.

Two models cited by the Victoria State Government argue that resuming when the state has an average of about 10 cases per day poses a small but significant risk of resurrection.

In the model built by Burnet’s Lab, returning to the limits enforced in July, Victoria is at risk of reaching 100 new cases per day by 17% within four weeks. The University of Melbourne model has a nearly 10% chance of a resurrection by Christmas.

“The epidemic can grow from one person,” said Professor James McCaw, an epidemiologist at the Doherty Institute.

“Of course, a small number of cases helps, but it’s basically the same whether the epidemic is spreading or shrinking.”

The challenge is to find the right combination of social distance rules to stabilize the epidemic.

Professor McCaw said it is difficult, but it is possible unless the epidemic is carefully monitored and the government is willing to act swiftly if the number of cases begins to increase again.

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“I’ve seen it in New South Wales, and I’ve seen it in Cedar Meat. I saw a Victorian public health response controlling the cluster,” he said.

Professor Blakely was more pessimistic. A resurrection was inevitable while the virus continued to circulate. Social distance measurements and contact tracing have just increased the time it takes for the state to return to the blockade.

“No matter how well you try, you can see the yo-yo. It’s really hard to stop,” he said.

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Melissa Cunningham is a health reporter for The Age.

Liam is a scientific reporter for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald

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