Victoria has once again recorded a disturbing number of new coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period as the state continues a worrying streak of triple digit daily infections.
On Saturday, a further 357 new cases were revealed, bringing the total to 3,995 active cases across Victoria.
Of the new cases, 37 are connected to known outbreaks while 320 are still under investigation.
A further five Victorians have passed away, brining the state total to 61, Premier Daniel Andrews revealed at a press conference this morning.
There are 229 people in Victorian hospitals and 42 in intensive care.
The latest deaths take the national COVID-19 death toll to 145.
Mr Andrews thanked Victorians for doing the right thing and said masks should help in not having to move to tougher restrictions.
“If they are worn by everybody then we may not need to go further. We cannot rule out going further with rule changes,” he said. “Masks are effectively our stage four.”
For those who refuse to wear masks, the Premier said “police are out there and they will take action against you”.
Up to 20 Australian Defence Force members are expected to arrive in coming days to assist in authorities’ efforts to clamp down on community transmission and help with contact tracing.
While most cases were detected in Melbourne, there has been growing concern over cases in the regional town of Colac, in southwest Victoria, following an outbreak at its Australian Lamb abattoir which now has 45 cases linked to it as of Saturday morning.
A separate cluster in Thomastown, north of Melbourne, climbed from 10 active cases to 57 in one day on Friday. There are now 80 cases linked to that cluster.
Meanwhile 40 aged care facilities across the state have recorded at least one case.
Assisted living facility St Basil’s in Fawkner, north of Melbourne, has now recorded 74 cases.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told reporters Friday the effects of the virus on aged care facilities was “a real concern” but stressed the response so far had not been a failure.
There are 536 active cases in aged cars facilities in Victoria, roughly split evenly between staff and residents, Mr Andrews said this morning.
‘This will have quite a tail’
Chief Medical Officer Bret Sutton has warned the state won’t be able to open up any time soon.
“It has been stubborn. In terms of the daily change, but we are coming in with new interventions all the time,” he told reporters Saturday.
“When you have got outbreaks that are really difficult to manage, those will have ongoing cases for some time yet. So this will have quite a tail, even if we see numbers start to drop in the next week or two.”
Mr Sutton warned the case load won’t disappear like it did with the first wave.
“This is an incredibly stubborn second wave,” the Premier added.
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