Victoria has recorded 466 new cases of coronavirus and 12 more deaths.
Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday the state’s COVID-19 death toll has now reached 193, including a man in his 30s who passed away since the last update.
The other deaths include two men in their 70s, two men and three women in their 80s, and four women in their 90s.
“Again, we send our best wishes and condolences and sympathies to those families and we acknowledge this will be a very difficult time for them,” Mr Andrews said.
“They are in our thoughts and prayers.
“Six of those deaths can be linked and are associated with aged care settings.”
Mr Andrews said 998 healthcare workers are active cases - an increase of 140 since Friday.
On Friday, the state reported 450 new cases and 11 deaths.
‘Not good enough’ but numbers beginning to stabilise
Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the state is beginning to see numbers stabilise.
“We are 400- 500 cases each day, more or less the average over the last week,” Professor Sutton said.
“That is not good enough but it's a positive that we have averted an exponential increase through the last couple of weeks.
“If we hadn't stabilised these numbers, we would have seen thousands of cases per day and there are estimates that we've averted 20,000 or more cases.”
Mr Andrews reiterated the importance of the state’s stage four restrictions.
“We need to do everything we can to keep those numbers low,” the premier said.
“That is what drives our policy decision and the move to stage three.
“I understand there are some communities who I think their sense of frustration at seemingly being free of COVID-19 but having these restrictions I can appreciate that.
“But the number of mystery cases we have across the state and some in regional Victoria, we have to assume there is more virus, more transmission, more cases out there than the data tells us.
“That abundance of caution is critically important to get to the other side of this as a whole state.”
Are mandatory masks working?
Professor Sutton said “it’s tricky to see” if the state’s mandatory mask policy, introduced for those who leave the home, will be shown in Victoria’s case numbers.
“It can reduce the reproduction number anecdotally by 15 per cent,” he said.
“If that happens in Victoria, that is a good thing, there are many more thousands of cases that have been averted then.”
More to come.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.