Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has said about 30 per cent of the state’s coronavirus cases could be going undetected.
The state recorded 11 new cases on Friday, the same total as Thursday, providing further frustration for health authorities as the tail end of the second wave continues to prove difficult to quash.
Professor Sutton once again faced tough questioning from reporters over how effective the state’s stringent lockdown measures and contact tracing system are.
While he said he had confidence in the public health response, Prof Sutton said he feared cases were continuing to go undetected.
While he said it was “hard to know” exactly how many, he feared nearly one third of all cases were missed daily.
“But we do know that when we have got an increased testing volume, so instead of 9000 we have got 16,000 or 20,000, that more confirmed cases are identified,” he said.
“That to me tells me that there are probably 30 per cent or thereabouts that we are not finding on any one day.”
On Friday, there were a further 15,585 processed tests reported - a number Premier Daniel Andrews described as “strong”.
Yet testing numbers have dropped off during the tail end of the second wave and Prof Sutton urged people to come forward with the slightest of symptoms while warning Victorians “not to be complacent”.
“This could fail if people don't come forward for testing, if people don't follow the restrictions and if people certainly don't isolate or quarantine when they absolutely have to,” he said.
Prof Sutton said at the start of September data indicated more than 50 per cent of people with symptoms weren’t getting tested.
Increasingly unlikely trigger points will be met
He had previously hinted Melbourne could transition to Step Three on the roadmap even if the trigger points aren’t met.
The roadmap indicates the city needs a 14-day average of five cases, and no more than five mystery cases during the same period, to further ease restrictions on October 19.
On Friday, the 14-day rolling average sat at 9.4 while there were 12 mystery cases over a 14-day period.
"It is, of course, frustrating to see that slow, even if steady movement, down (in case numbers),” he said.
"We have seen a bit of a plateauing in recent days and I am as frustrated as anyone but the underlying trend will get us there."
On Thursday, Mr Andrews confirmed “some changes” will be made on October 19, however refrained from elaborating whether they’d mostly have an economic or social benefit.
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