Virus cases skyrocketing in Victoria

Victoria recorded 459 new coronavirus cases and 10 deaths on Sunday, with a man in his 40s one of the latest casualties.

The surge is almost 100 cases higher than figures recorded on Saturday, as the state battles the second wave of the virus.

The 10 deaths include seven men aged between 40 and 80 years, and three women in their 70s and 80s.

Seven of the 10 fatalities are linked to aged care outbreaks.

At least 228 people are in hospital and 42 are in intensive care.

COVID-19 has so far claimed the lives of 71 Victorians.

The state now has 4233 active cases, 560 of which are in the aged care sector and 381 are among healthcare workers.

There were 42,573 tests conducted on Saturday, the largest in a single day.

Premier Daniel Andrews said about a third of cases were being confirmed in people between the ages of 18-29.

He said although there was some “relative stability”, the numbers had to be driven down.

“These numbers are far too high,” he said.

“I can’t tell you where we will be in another three-and-a-half weeks, but what I can confirm for you … is that the data will drive the decisions.”

About 200 rostered-off paramedics and third-year students will start assisting with contact tracing.

Up to 150 Australian Defence Force personnel will also work alongside Ambulance Victoria over the next 10 days to help transport equipment, freeing up paramedics to do other tasks.

Mr Andrews again called on Victorians to wear a mask, warning if they don’t, they will be fined $200.

“Ten families are currently planning funerals and the youngest among them, they have lost someone in their 40s,” he said.

“If you are sick, then you must get tested and must get tested quickly.

“Then you must stay at home and wait for your test results. Not going to work, not going shopping.

“There is a $300 payment available … if are you in insecure work in between getting the test and getting the results.”

Mr Andrews said outbreaks in aged care homes would result in deaths because the average age of residents was about 90 years old, and many had underlying complex health conditions.

He said although the state government did not run a lot of the nursing homes, it was working closely with operators.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth on Sunday reinforced that each facility needed an individualised response.

“Decisions need to be made for individual aged care residents, both those who are COVID-19 positive and others who may be suffering because of their high care needs and the effects the work force disruption is having on them,” he said.

“That decision-making for individual aged care residents is a shared decision between themselves if they‘re able to make it, their families and of course healthcare practitioners.

“Those aged care residents who do suffer, who are suffering from COVID-19, who require hospitalisation, will of course be hospitalised.”

Mr Andrews reminded Victorians that coronavirus was not like a common cold.

“In many, it’s much more like a chronic illness where it takes quite some time to get over it,” he said.

It comes as Queensland announced another day with no new cases, with just five active across the state.

Dr Coatsworth said New South Wales had recorded 14 additional cases.

Three of those were related to hotel quarantine, 10 have known links to existing clusters within NSW and one case was locally acquired but the contact is not yet identified.

Across Australia, 241 people are in hospital with COVID-19, 41 of those in intensive care units.

So far, 155 people have lost their lives to coronavirus disease.

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