More than a week and a half since a Covid-19 outbreak that has led to 15 cases at a Victorian childcare centre, parents say they are still waiting to be contacted by health officials.
On 2 August, the management at Bluebird early education centre in South Morang, north-east of Melbourne, alerted parents that a staff member had tested positive.
It was before stage four lockdowns, when childcare centres were still open for more than just permitted workers.
Parents were told in a letter to keep children at home, with warnings it could be two weeks before the centre reopened.
In the letter, the centre’s manager said the centre had been unable to contact the Department of Health and Human Services about what the centre should do because it was a Sunday.
DHHS did not comment on the centre’s claim, but told Guardian Australia it had staff working over weekends to provide information about Covid-related issues.
On 4 August, parents were advised three staff members and one child had tested positive, but none had attended while infectious. The next day, the centre told staff DHHS was contacting every family potentially affected.
More than a week later, some parents are still waiting to be contacted.
One parent, who asked to remain anonymous, told Guardian Australia: “We have heard nothing from DHHS or DET as yet, despite one educator working across all rooms in the centre, which would render all children as close contacts in my opinion.
“My children attend most of the week so exposure to an educator who is floating around all the rooms of the centre is a certainty.”
He said he had taken his family to a suburban clinic for testing.
A DHHS spokesman said the centre had been closed for deep cleaning and close contacts would be contacted to self-isolate.
“The department has been carrying out contact tracing and notifying any close contacts of their requirements to self-isolate when identified,” he said.
The centre was listed as a key outbreak location by DHHS in a daily case rundown this week.
The current proposal is for the centre to reopen on 17 August, according to communications seen by Guardian Australia, but it will depend on DHHS approval, which the centre has told parents it may not have before Friday.
The centre’s management could not be reached for comment. The New Zealand-based owner of the centre, Evolve Education, which took over this month, did not respond to requests for comment.
The local government area where the centre is located, Whittlesea, accounts for 988 of the state’s coronavirus cases, with 553 active at latest reporting. It is the fourth-highest LGA for Covid-19 cases in Victoria.
Since moving to stage four, childcare centres are allowed to accept only children of workers in permitted industries.