Omicron cluster concerns as Victoria records 1510 cases and seven deaths

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Health authorities are continuing to probe a potential Omicron outbreak connected to two popular bars in Melbourne’s inner north, after Victoria recorded 1510 coronavirus cases and seven deaths on Friday.

Also on Friday morning, it was announced that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had tested negative to COVID-19 and could emerge from isolation after potentially being exposed to the virus at a private birthday party in Elwood.

Melburnians in masks at the South Melbourne Market. Credit:Wayne Taylor

There are 386 people in hospital with COVID-19, and 43 on a ventilator. Of those currently in intensive care, 82 have an active case of COVID-19, and 36 have been cleared.

Victoria now has 12,578 active cases. There were 82,301 tests results returned across Thursday, with 11,888 vaccinations administered at state-run centres.

Public health authorities are investigating seven confirmed COVID-19 cases that may be linked to the Peel Hotel in Collingwood and Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy, after a person confirmed to have the Omicron variant visited the venues last week.

It is still not clear if any of these cases are carrying the Omicron variant.

Anyone who attended the Sircuit Bar from 9pm to 12am and the Peel Hotel from 11.30pm to 3am on Friday December 10 must quarantine and get tested for COVID-19.

Victoria now has 13 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, with a further 30 positive COVID-19 cases being managed as either suspected or confirmed cases of the new variant of concern.

“All Victorians can play their part in reducing the spread of Omicron – or any other variant – by getting tested the moment they notice symptoms or as soon as they are told they are a contact, and practising COVIDSafe behaviours such as wearing masks, physical distancing and checking in,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.

The concern around the growing cluster comes after Premier Daniel Andrews announced he had tested negative to COVID-19, after being forced into isolation following a party he attended last weekend.

Mr Andrews spent Thursday in quarantine after learning of a positive COVID case at a 50th birthday party he attended with his wife on the Elwood foreshore on Saturday night. Following his negative test result, he will be able to leave isolation, according to a state government media advisor.

He is currently on leave, with James Merlino the current Acting Premier.

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