Victoria has recorded 149 new cases of coronavirus and 24 people with COVID-19 have died, taking the state’s death toll to 462.
- 21 of the 24 deaths are linked to aged care settings, where there are 1,487 active cases
- Premier Daniel Andrews said healthcare worker infections had begun to stabilise
- Mr Andrews said he was having “very productive discussions” with crossbench MPs as he seeks to change laws to extend the state of emergency
Premier Daniel Andrews said 21 of the 24 deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks.
The deaths are comprised of one woman in her 60s, three men in their 70s, three women and seven men in their 80s, and six women and four men in their 90s.
Mr Andrews said the state offered its sympathies and condolences to the families grieving the loss of loved ones to the virus.
There are 1,487 active cases and 121 active outbreaks in aged care settings across the state, and 50 active cases in disability facility settings.
But the Premier said the combined efforts of state and Commonwealth agencies was beginning to bring “significant stability” to the “very challenging” outbreaks across those sectors.
The latest update comes as the Premier said he was having “very, very productive discussions” with crossbench MPs as he sought their support in changing legislation to allow the state of emergency to be extended by another 12 months.
Today’s figures come after 148 cases were reported yesterday and 116 cases were announced on Monday — the lowest daily number of new cases in more than seven weeks.
Premier says test times are faster
A total of 2.13 million tests have been taken in Victoria since the pandemic began and the Premier said testing times had improved in recent days, with most results coming back within 24 hours.
He stressed it was still critical for people to keep getting tested if they had any cold or flu-like symptoms.
“We have got to have sufficient certainty and confidence that we’re getting an accurate and a big enough snapshot of how much virus is out there in the Victorian community,” he said.
Healthcare worker infections ‘stabilised and coming down’
Data released yesterday by Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer Andrew Wilson showed that 70 to 80 per cent of healthcare workers who contracted coronavirus during the state’s second wave caught it at work.
The State Government previously estimated only 10 to 15 per cent of COVID-19 cases among the state’s healthcare workers had been acquired at work, saying the rest of the infections were acquired in the community.
In the first wave of infections, about 22 per cent of infections among healthcare workers were acquired at work, according to the data.
There are currently 434 active cases of coronavirus in healthcare workers, down from 475 cases yesterday.
Mr Andrews said healthcare worker infections had “stabilised and are coming down”.
In response to its analysis of healthcare worker infections in the second wave of the pandemic, the Government said it would expand the use of N95 masks in emergency departments, intensive care units, aged care facilities and COVID-19 wards.
It will also place “spotters” in hospitals to make sure personal protective equipment (PPE) is being properly put on and taken off, and run a trial at the Northern Hospital on fit-testing equipment to ensure it remains effective when workers are performing their regular duties.
Cases are tending down but numbers are expected to fluctuate
Yesterday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the seven-day trend of new cases was clearly heading down.
However the number of people getting tested was also down, and Professor Sutton warned there could be some some fluctuation in new case numbers over the next few days.
“We’re certainly seeing some stabilisation in the number of people who are hospitalised,” Professor Sutton said.
He said the “tail” of infections in health and aged care could take some time to come down.
“It’s been good to see things trend as we have expected,” he said.
“But the tail is tricky.”
Melbourne emergency department physician Stephen Parnis has been tested for COVID-19 after developing a cough.
“Hopefully my test is negative but each day I’m getting reports of close colleagues testing positive,” he told RN.
Dr Parnis said while he was delighted that case numbers were going down, hospital cases would not come down for a while yet.
More to come.