Woman works two Coles shifts before coronavirus diagnosis

Geelong's first coronavirus case has been confirmed by the health department, after a young woman who recently returned from the US was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The woman travelled to multiple locations in the United States and returned to Melbourne aboard UA0600 from San Francisco.

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She became unwell on February 29, the day she flew back.

Before being diagnosed with the virus earlier this week, the woman in her 20s worked two shifts at Coles Waurn Ponds over the long weekend.

People queue at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to be tested for coronavirus. Picture: Tony Gough
People queue at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to be tested for coronavirus. Picture: Tony Gough

Contact tracing by the health department has deemed the supermarket, between the hours of 8.45am and 5pm on Friday, March 6 and 1pm and 6pm on Saturday, March 7, a public exposure site.

People who visited Coles Waurn Ponds during those hours should be aware of COVID-19 signs and symptoms and inform their doctor they visited the site if they feel unwell.

However, the risk of transmission for customers was very low, a DHHS spokesman said.

The spokesman said the department had been working closely with Coles to identify possible close contacts and provide information and support.

Hospitals and clinics are being pushed to the limit as hundreds of people wait to be tested for coronavirus. Picture: Getty
Hospitals and clinics are being pushed to the limit as hundreds of people wait to be tested for coronavirus. Picture: Getty

Close contact is defined as face-to-face contact for at least 15 minutes or being in the same closed space for at least 2 hours.

Coles issued a statement saying the Department of Health "does not hold any concerns regarding risks to customers or team members".

"Coles immediately performed an extensive clean of the supermarket in line with recommendations from the Department of Health and will conduct further cleaning overnight as an additional precautionary measure," the statement read.

The woman is the state's 20th confirmed coronavirus case, and was one of three confirmed cases in Victoria announced Wednesday.

The health department was contacting her close contacts, who will self-isolate for 14 days.

Two others from the same flight have in recent days been confirmed as having coronavirus, including infected Melbourne doctor Chris Higgins.

Several people who flew from the US to Australia late last month have in recent days been confirmed as having COVID-19.

The Geelong Advertiser



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