High-risk exposure sites swell as Victoria records 208 new local COVID-19 cases, one death

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Victoria has recorded 208 new local coronavirus cases on Friday as the number of potentially high-risk exposure sites swelled, and the state’s playgrounds re-opened to children under 12.

Friday’s case number is the highest recorded in more than 12 months.

The state has also recorded another COVID-19 related death.

Ninety-six of the new COVID-19 cases are connected to the current outbreaks, and authorities are investigating the acquisition source for the remaining 112 cases.

Health authorities listed nearly 150 new exposure sites on Thursday. Credit:Getty

The Department of Health did not specify how many of Friday’s new cases were in isolation for their entire infectious period, and said it would provide more information about the cases later in the morning.

Friday’s cases were recorded from more than 48,570 COVID-19 tests.

One new case was recorded in the state’s hotel quarantine, and more than 33,500 people received their COVID-19 vaccine doses in the past 24 hours.

Friday’s figures come as restrictions for playgrounds change and children under 12 are allowed, for the first time in weeks, to use playgrounds.

Only one parent or carer can accompany their children to a playground, and when there, adults must check-in using a QR code, and they should not remove their masks to eat or drink.

Also, as of 11.59pm on Thursday, in-home carers, such as babysitters, are allowed for school-aged children, as long as both their parents are authorised workers.

Victoria recorded 176 local cases of coronavirus on Thursday.

Authorities identify more exposure sites

Victorian health authorities identified nearly 150 new COVID-19 exposure sites on Thursday, with more than 70 listed after 10pm.

Among the late additions was an inner-city fertility clinic, an early learning centre and an apartment complex at Coburg.

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens was also declared a tier-2 site earlier in the evening.

There are currently more than 1000 Victorian venues, transport routes, residential buildings and other places listed as exposure sites.

Border bubble arrangements with NSW tighten

Authorities have also narrowed the definition of “specified workers” who can enter Victoria.

From 6pm on Friday, those who do still make the list will also be subject to more rigorous COVID-19 testing – they will need to be tested within 72 hours of entering Victoria, as well as on days six, seven, or eight after they enter, and again on day 13 or 14.

Border bubble arrangements with NSW were tightened at 11.59pm on Thursday, with people no longer allowed to cross the border to go to physical recreation facilities.

A number of communities are now excluded from the bubble: Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, the City of Benalla, Buloke, Loddon, Yarriambiack in Victoria, and Broken Hill and Edward River in NSW.

That means residents of those areas are no longer eligible for a cross-border “extreme risk zone” permit to enter Victoria, or return from NSW.

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