Victoria has recorded 459 new cases of the coronavirus and a further 10 deaths, seven of which have been linked to aged-care facility outbreaks.
There are now 4,233 active cases of the virus across the state, including 560 in aged care, which premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday “does put some additional pressure on our system”.
Out of 228 people receiving hospital treatment for the virus, 42 are in intensive care, Mr Andrews said.
Seventy-one people have now died from COVID-19 in Victoria.
“We send our condolences and best wishes to those families. This will be a terribly difficult time for them, and they are in our thoughts,” Mr Andrews said.
Of the latest deaths, seven were men aged between their 40s to 80s, and three women in their 70s and 80s.
There are some 381 active cases among healthcare workers, Mr Andrews said.
The worryingly high number of cases, comes as more people seek testing. There were 42,573 tests conducted in Victoria yesterday, the highest number so far.
As part of the state’s critical response to the pandemic, Mr Andrews said 20 Australian Defence Force personnel would be working alongside Ambulance Victoria from Monday.
“That will scale up over the next 8 to 10 days to around 150 ADF staff, so essentially freeing 150 Ambulance Victoria paramedics to do other tasks,” he said.
There were an additional 357 coronavirus cases recorded on Saturday.
People going to work sick ‘cause of second wave’
Mr Andrews implored people who get tested for COVID-19 to stay at home at all costs, saying those who didn’t were largely to blame for the second wave.
“While waiting for your test, you've got to stay at home. You can't be going out to the shops, you can't be going to work. All that will do is spread the virus,” he said.
“Aged care, health care, big distribution centres, meatworks, cool stores, big warehouses, these workplaces are driving most of this second wave and therefore what that tells you is that some people, for whatever reason - not a matter of judgement, just a fact - some people are feeling sick, they have symptoms and they are still going to work.
“If that continues, then we will just continue to see more and more cases.”
The Victorian Premier said the government’s distribution of the one-off $300 payment for “insecure” workers isolating while waiting for test results, as well as the $1500 payment for those who tested positive, was designed to ensure workers were financially capable of staying home.
“I think we've been far more focused on the pandemic than a much bigger issue which is a structural weakness in our economy that has been very graphically exposed,” he said.
“Insecure work is no good for public health in terms of dealing with a global pandemic, and there are many other attendant challenges and I've said a few times now, now is not the time for us to be having a debate or discussion about that, but out of this pandemic there are many, many learnings.”
One of them, he said, was the perils of insecure work.
“The notion of not having that connectivity, the basic entitlements that all of us in this room enjoy – that is a real challenge, not just for public health, but a challenge for providing for your family, for stability. That is something we have to return to,” he said.
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