Victoria’s daily coronavirus infections have dropped below 200 for the first time in nearly six weeks as Stage 4 restrictions continue to drive cases down.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 179 cases and a further nine deaths on Friday, taking the state’s death toll to 385.
The last time cases were under 200 was 39 days ago on July 13 when the state recorded 177 new infections.
“We are all pleased to see a ‘1’ in front of these additional case numbers,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
He said such a figure had come “a little quicker” than he’d predicted.
However while pleased with Friday’s data, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton delivered a “note of caution”.
“We're going into a challenging phase in the next couple of weeks... even as community transmission goes down, those complex outbreak settings that are really hard to get on top of transmission in the aged care disability sector, even in our health services, they might end up with a baseline level of transmission that is harder to shift,” he said.
Friday’s victims were one male in his 60s, one female in her 70s, two females and two males in their 80s, two females in their 90s and one male in his 100s.
While Mr Andrews has repeatedly refused to offer an exact figure, he hinted the number could be 20 if the majority of cases could be traced.
Testing 30,000 plus a day could hamper virus fight, CHO says
The premier previously said Melbourne could only return to Stage 3 if a decline in testing rates was halted.
Testing returned to over 20,000 in the previous 24 hours on Friday, after dropping to 17,000 earlier in the week.
Professor Sutton said it was now the goal to remain above the 20,000 mark.
While NSW performed more than 32,000 tests in the same period, Prof Sutton said such a high figure could be detrimental to the fight against the virus.
“I don't know that you get extra value in 30,000 or 40,000 tests, necessarily,” he said.
“You push out the turnaround time and when you've got a long turnaround time for your results, you've got people potentially who are infectious moving about in the community.”
Prof Sutton said it was not a “good investment” of testing resources to test asymptomatic people in the community as the likelihood of finding cases randomly was minimal.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.