Victoria’s coronavirus death toll continues to grow at an alarming rate as the state recorded a further 300 new cases.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed a further six deaths.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) confirmed a seventh death later on Friday, taking the state’s death toll to 56 and means Victoria has now recorded more deaths than NSW (51) since the pandemic began.
The seven deaths are the most for any state in a single day, surpassing Victoria’s five deaths announced on Thursday.
Two men and two women aged in their 80s, and two men and one woman aged in her 90s are the latest fatalities.
Five of the deaths have been linked to aged-care facilities, the DHHS said.
Mr Andrews said Defence personnel and Department of Health officers would now door knock confirmed cases if they cannot be contacted via telephone.
“The aim is to have every single one of them contacted within 24 hours,” he said.
While Friday’s total is significantly lower than the previous three days, daily totals have fluctuated in recent weeks, and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton predicted on Thursday daily cases could reach up to 600 in the coming days.
“There are several people expected to die in the following two week period. I'm afraid we will see that and I expect that to occur,” Professor Sutton told reporters on Friday.
He said it was a growing concern the number of younger Australians now in intensive care as cases continue to surge.
“With large numbers of cases, there are a number of other people, younger individuals who are hospitalised and they are at risk of serious injury as well.
“Some of those people who are in intensive care and on ventilators are younger individuals.
“That is an absolute tragedy and of course we are working in whatever way we can to drive those numbers down.”
Premier rules out imposing further restrictions
Yet Mr Andrews said he currently had “no advice” to impose further restrictions.
"I've got no advice to move to a so-called stage four, or I don't want to change those rules at the moment,” he said.
"We believe with masks, which is a change with what we did last time with the stage three stay-at-home orders, and enhanced enforcement activities, and other small changes that may well be significant in terms of efficiency and the effectiveness of the public health response rates down to very small numbers of people."
Focus has turned to the handling of aged care facilities amid the pandemic as deaths in centres continue to rise.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told reporters the effects of the virus on aged care facilities was “a real concern” but stressed the response so far had not been a failure.
“When we look around the world, this has been a major issue for all countries, and so we're learning as we go,” he said.
Professor Kelly said meetings between senior aged-care personnel and health authorities is to take place to coordinate its future response.
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