Banking app info blamed for Woolies COVID-19 tracing bungle

Victorian contact-tracers have discovered 13 people linked to the new exposure site in Epping North after a mistake over which supermarket a man with COVID-19 attended early this month.

Authorities revealed the error on Friday night after discovering the Wollert man who tested positive for COVID-19 had visited Woolworths at Epping North which is three kilometres down the road from Woolworths at Epping Plaza which was incorrectly listed as the shop he attended.

Workers prepare to deep clean a Woolworths in Epping Plaza that was incorrectly listed as a tier 1 COVID-19 exposure site earlier this month.Credit:Penny Stephens

The Department of Health said an electronic banking app had listed the man as having purchased items at ‘Woolworths Epping’ which led to an alert being issued for the plaza store which has been in operation for several more years than the newer Epping North store.

The department issued a new alert for customers who visited Woolworths Epping North, corner of Epping Road and Lyndarum Drive, on May 8 between 5.40pm and 6.38pm to get tested and to isolate at home until receiving a negative test.

It thanked Woolworths for helping to clarify the location and arrange staff testing at the correct store in a timely manner while the company and department are working to use electronic transaction data to identify other people who visited the store at the same time as the man on May 8.

Victoria recorded no new coronavirus cases on Friday and extended its streak of no locally acquired cases to 85 days.

Rapid response team members also visited the three household contacts of the Wollert man last night, who are still in home isolation, and tested them again for COVID-19 after wastewater from the Epping and Wollert area showed traces of the virus.

But all three people again tested negative and while authorities expect to see more traces of the virus as people leave hotel quarantine and return to the community, they hope more people come forward for testing in the coming days.

The department also said 8977 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered on Friday by state services bringing the total number of department administered doses to 363,919. There were also 15,208 COVID-19 test results received.

Appointments for vaccine centres can be made by calling 1800 675 398.

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