Coronavirus Victoria: Hundreds of new cases announced as deaths surge again

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·4-min read

Daily coronavirus cases and deaths have risen in Victoria on Friday, two days after the state’s deadliest day.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced 372 new cases and 14 deaths for the previous 24-hour period, including a man in his 20s.

It follows 278 new cases and eight deaths for the previous 24-hour period, and a record 21 deaths and 410 new cases on Wednesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne.
Victoria has reported 372 new coronavirus cases on Friday. Source: AAP

Thursday’s infections total was the lowest in 24 days, while the daily death toll fell to a single digit number for the first time in a week.

The state’s death toll now sits at 289, while the national death toll is 375.

Man in his 20s among death toll

The new deaths include a man in his 20s, three women and two men in their 80s and four women and four men in their 90s.

The man in his 20s has become the youngest coronavirus victim in the country. The previous youngest death was a man aged in his 30s.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Friday 12 of the 14 deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks.

“Our thoughts and best wishes, our sympathies, are obviously with the families of those 14 Victorians, and we wish them well at what will be an incredibly difficult time for them,” Mr Andrews said.

There are 659 Victorians in hospital, with 41 in intensive care. There are 26 of those in intensive care on a ventilator.

‘I’m confident we’ve seen the peak’

Professor Sutton told reporters the effect of Stage Four restrictions would be shown in the numbers over the next few days.

“These [numbers] are still the effect of mask wearing and Stage Three so that is encouraging,” he said.

“We’ve turned a corner with those interventions and we should see a further driving down of transmission with Stage Four restrictions, so it is going in the right direction and I’m confident we’ve seen the peak but it’s got to come down quickly.”

A Melbourne epidemiologist has attempted to predict the magic number Victoria needs to hit before it lifts its lockdown.

University of Melbourne Professor John Mathews told Yahoo News Australia Victoria would have to get its daily cases as low as NSW.

“The simplest thing is to look at NSW. They’re still under about 20 cases per day, and unless we get to at least that stage in Victoria, it would be hard to recommend stopping the lockdown,” he said.

“Because the numbers are smaller, the contact tracing is more manageable and they can track the new cases and the context down pretty quickly.”

Source of one in five cases unknown

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton told reporters one in five, or 20 per cent of cases in Melbourne, have unknown acquisition of the virus.

In regional Victoria, the source of about 13 per cent of cases can’t be identified.

“With every case we have, we go through a detailed interview process and you will have heard me talk about incubation, the period of time from potential exposure to developing symptoms and it can be up to 14 days,” he said.

“Someone can be exposed but will not become unwell until two weeks later, but most people develop symptoms in the first week, around five or six days.”

Pictured is Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton speaking to reporters during a media briefing,
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the acquisition of the virus in one and five cases was unknown. Source: ABC

He said the interview process was to identify how people contracted the virus, however it could not be determined in one in five cases.

“They don’t have anyone in their household who has been unwell, nobody in the workplace,” he said.

“The places they nominate don’t have existing cases, clusters, outbreaks so we can’t determine absolutely where they got it from, but we know there are other opportunities where people can pick it up.”

Two new cases emerge in Queensland

There are now eight active coronavirus cases in Queensland after the state reported another two on Friday.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk tweeted one of the cases was in a returned traveller from Sydney in hotel quarantine and the other was detected in a person on a cargo ship off the coast.

There have been more than 700,000 tests conducted in the state and a total of 1091 confirmed cases.

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