Thousands urged to get tested after attending AFL game at MCG

Victorian health authorities are urging thousands of people who attended an AFL match at the MCG on Sunday to get tested and isolate as Melbourne’s COVID-19 cluster grows to 16.

Anyone sitting in zone four, level one of the Great Southern Stand of the MCG on Sunday for the Collingwood and Port Adelaide game are considered immediate contacts with authorities rushing to contact everyone who could be affected.

The Port Adelaide team and staff who travelled for the match are also now quarantining in South Australia.

Thousands of people may have been exposed at the MCG last weekend. (Getty)
People sitting in this highlighted zone at the MCG are urged to get tested immediately
Anyone sitting in Zone 4, level 1 of the Great Southern Stand of the MCG on Sunday night when Collingwood played Port Adelaide is being urged to get tested. (Today)

“In light of the positive case identified as having visited the MCG on Sunday, Port Adelaide players and staff members who were at the venue for the game against Collingwood will undergo COVID-19 tests today,” a club statement released today read.

“The club is also encouraging any members and supporters who attended the match to get tested out of an abundance of caution.

“Wednesday had already been a scheduled day off for players and football department staff, who will await negative results before returning to training.”

The game hosted more than 20,000 spectators and health officials are scouring CCTV to determine who was in close proximity to a positive case who attended the game.

How the infected person travelled to and from the match is still being investigated.

The AFL is also working with the Department of Health to contact ticket holders who may be affected.

Health Minister Martin Foley said MCG stadium managers and health authorities immediately got data of attendees and were able to undertake contact tracing to connect with people who attended on the night.

Mr Foley said at this stage, games would still go ahead at the MCG.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said games will still go ahead at the MCG. (Nine)

“AFL is going ahead with crowds, subject to changes and masks, but there has been great engagement between the league, stadiums and the public health team,” Mr Foley said.

“This is subject to how we go over the next 24 hours. We have got a critical period in front of us, but right now, engagement between the AFL and public health – games with crowds will be subject to restrictions.”

Mr Foley said capacity across Melbourne testing sites were gradually increasing to cater to high demand.

Four new testing sites have been established, with more staff put on at Epping’s Northern Health in response to the “very high levels of demand” in the north. 

The MCG authorities are in contact with hundreds who attended. (The Age)

There are more than 40 sites operating across Melbourne with extended operating hours. 

“If everyone with symptoms comes forward to get tested, with everyone at links to a current exposure site known to us, with everyone following the health advice and with our public health detectives staying on top of the trend of transmission – we can run this to the ground,” Mr Foley said.

The health department has identified 301 primary close contacts linked to the outbreak. 

Several bars have also been recently added to the state’s exposure site list, including the Three Monkeys and Somewhere Bar in Prahran and Circus Bar on Chapel Street in South Yarra. 

Anyone who has attended the tier-1 sites is required to get tested and isolate for 14 days. 

Authorities say they will not rule out harsher restrictions in order to stamp out the escalating outbreak. 

“The next 24 hours are going to be particularly critical,” Acting Victoria Deputy James Merlino said. 

“Everyone is linked at this stage, but we are concerned about the number and the kind of exposure sites.

“I can’t rule out making further changes.”

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