Pandemic reaches crucial phase as local cases confirmed

Pandemic reaches crucial phase as local cases confirmed

By David Schout

Confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases throughout Docklands in July has further emphasised the need for locals to stay at home, wear a mask and socially distance where they can.

Among the cases were employees at both National Australia Bank (NAB) and Woolworths Victoria Harbour, plus reports of a resident at 888 Collins Street.

And given there were 560 cases within the City of Melbourne at the time of publishing this edition, it was expected there would be more unknown cases in the local area.

During the past month, cases within the municipality moved beyond those in hotel quarantine and out into the local community.

At Victoria Harbour, Woolworths notified the public that an employee had tested positive for the COVID-19.

Woolworths became aware of the case on Tuesday, July 21, and the store was closed that night for deep cleaning before reopening at 7am the next morning.

The team member last worked at the Victoria Harbour Woolworths on Saturday, July 18 and did not present with any symptoms of illness at the time.

They then moved into self-isolation.

“Customers and team members should be assured they can continue to safely shop and work at our Victoria Harbour supermarket,” a spokesperson told Docklands News.

“Any customers who shopped in our Victoria Harbour store on Saturday, July 18 and feel unwell in the next two weeks should make contact with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).”

The news followed the case of a National Australia Bank employee who tested positive after working at the bank’s 700 Bourke St office in the first week of July.

The positive case was confirmed shortly after NAB announced it would be indefinitely closing its two main office towers, both of which are in Docklands.

The bank said that offices at both 700 Bourke St (between Southern Cross Station and Marvel Stadium) and 800 Bourke St (on Victoria Harbour promenade), which house most of its 34,000-strong workforce, would be mothballed.

The bank sent a letter to local businesses, many of whom will feel a distinct pinch from the temporary closure, stressing that the move was not permanent and reiterating it had been a “proud part of the Docklands community for the past 16 years”.

“We appreciate this is a difficult time for many small businesses and recognise the business that NAB colleagues bring to the Docklands precinct,” NAB executive Susan Ferrier said.

“I want to emphasise that these changes are temporary and will be regularly reviewed. We will continue to update you about when and how our colleagues return to work in the office.”

“Our Melbourne-based workforce who need to be in the office, will all work from 500 Bourke Street.”

Later in July, reports of another positive COVID-19 case emerged, this time of a resident at 888 Collins St.

The cases further reaffirmed the importance of the state government’s stay-at-home directives as Melbourne looks to see off a now tragic second wave of infections.

Notably for Docklanders, the state government has also finally provided guidelines assisting residents and owners’ corporations (OCs) living in apartment towers limit the transmission of the coronavirus in multi dwelling buildings.

The new guidelines follow two roundtable meetings conducted by the Department of Job, Precincts and Regions in July, which included Victoria Police, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Justice, City of Melbourne, as well as resident groups and student and community leaders.

While the guidelines provide a uniform model for how OCs should be approaching the management of coronavirus, they acknowledge that, “each property is unique and should develop a tailored plan based on the information contained in this guide”. 

The 14-page document, now available on the DHHS website, provides recommendations, actions and checklists on how to manage the likes of common property such as lifts and stairwells, visitors and deliveries, resident welfare and compliance.

The DHHS has also released a new directive against short-stay accommodation in July due to COVID-19. For more information, read We Live Here’s regular column on page 24 of this edition.

For more on the roundtable discussions regarding new COVID-19 guidelines for apartment buildings, read Dr Janette Corcoran’s Skypad Living column on page 23 •

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