There have been 76 new coronavirus cases recorded in Victoria in the past 24 hours and 11 more deaths.
The number is promising as health authorities look to drive the daily new cases into single figures with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews set to announce the roadmap out of strict Stage 4 lockdown on Sunday.
Ten of the 11 new deaths are linked to aged care facilities, Mr Andrews said this morning.
“There are 298 Victorians in hospital, 21 of those are receiving intensive care, and 15 of those 21 are on a ventilator,” he said.
The 76 new cases were among 15,820 tests carried out in the past 24 hours.
“The total number of active cases across the state has now fallen to 1,956,” Mr Andrews said.
“Obviously, at 76 new cases, that is still a really significant challenge for us. And to open up with those numbers would, of course, see the total number of coronavirus infections explode.
“It would see many, many hundreds, indeed thousands, of Victorians infected with this virus. So, as frustrating, as challenging as it is, we need to stay the course on this. That's why tomorrow we will outline a road map to ease these important restrictions, to ease out of the second wave, once it's appropriately and properly defeated,” Mr Andrews said.
On Friday there were 59 new COVID-19 deaths revealed as previously unannounced deaths during July and August which occurred within nursing homes were shared with the state government. Only nine of the 59 actually occurred in the previous 24 hours.
There were 81 new cases announced on Friday, ending a two-day streak of rising daily infections. It followed 113 cases and 15 deaths on Thursday, and 90 cases and six deaths on Wednesday.
Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton said cases were on “an ongoing slow and steady decline”.
“It is heading in the right direction. It's too slow for all of us. I'm sure too slow for me, but it is going in the right direction,” he told reporters Saturday.
“We are on the winning stretch now, there's no question. This is the last gasp of the virus, and we need to work harder than maybe we've ever done before to make sure that that last gasp is, indeed, the last one.”
Victoria’s coronavirus death toll now stands at 661. The national death toll is 748.
While the general trend has been downwards, the jump back into triple figures this week served as a reminder that Victoria is a long way from the finish line.
“Just when I think we might be turning the corner, COVID-19 bites back hard,” Melbourne emergency room doctor Stephen Parnis said on Thursday.
“When I see younger colleagues presenting seriously unwell to hospital, reality hits home. We have so little margin for error in lifting restrictions,” he warned.
“That should temper any impatience.”
On Friday, one of Australia’s leading think tanks called on Victoria to “finish the job” and eliminate community transmission by driving cases to zero.
Police send warning to ‘tinfoil hat brigade’
Police are urging people to adhere to restrictions on community movement as some groups air plans for protest rallies against the measures.
Four men have been arrested and charged with incitement over the Freedom Day rally planned for several inner-Melbourne locations, including the Shrine of Remembrance.
A pregnant Ballarat woman also faces the same charge over a rally planned for the regional city.
Police have also warned about 80 people against attending the Melbourne rallies as they enforce Victoria's lockdown rules.
"The tinfoil hat-wearing brigade are alive and well in our community," Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said.
"They're taking every opportunity to leverage the current situation to serve their own ridiculous notions about so-called 'sovereign citizens', about constitutional issues and about how 5G is going to kill your grandkids."
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