Victoria’s Chief Health Officer (CHO) says he expects the number of new daily coronavirus cases in the state will drop below 100 by next week based on the current downward trend.
- The state has recorded its joint lowest daily case increase in almost eight weeks
- All 12 of the state’s most recent COVID-19 deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks
- Cases linked to aged care and healthcare worker outbreaks are driving a significant proportion of new cases
Victoria has recorded 113 new cases of coronavirus and 12 more deaths, taking the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 497.
Today’s number of new cases matches yesterday’s, which was the lowest daily number in almost eight weeks.
CHO Brett Sutton said the rate of new infections was “clearly still trending in the right direction”.
“It’s not gotten below 100 yet, I do expect that to happen, if not over the weekend, by next week if trends continue,” he said.
He said while there was no “huge material difference” in reaching the milestone from an epidemiological perspective, he felt it would be “helpful from a psychological point of view” for Victorians battling with the state’s difficult restrictions.
“It’s just a sign that if we get there, and I hope we do, that we’re still heading in the right direction and that it is a consequence of all the hard yards that we’ve done individually and collectively to minimise our contacts with others that’s driving this down,” he said.
For the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic read our coronavirus update story.
Aged care and healthcare outbreaks driving most new infections
Premier Daniel Andrews said the 12 deaths were all linked to aged care outbreaks and included a man in his 70s, two women and one man in their 80s, and five women and three men in their 90s.
Professor Sutton said while there were fewer active aged care outbreaks than there had been in recent weeks, ongoing aged care outbreaks and healthcare worker outbreaks were driving a significant proportion of daily cases.
“That’s encouraging, that you know where the outbreaks are, you know that they’re not mystery cases where the places they’ve acquired it or the people they’ve acquired it from are not known and therefore might be transmitting otherwise,” he said.
“But it also points to the fact that we need to get on top of transmission in these places and they can spill out into the community.”
Premier says ‘public health bushfire’ on brink of containment
Mr Andrews, who has been under pressure from the Opposition to lay out a plan for the state’s economic recovery and the gradual lifting of restrictions, acknowledged the delay in outlining a clear roadmap was “deeply frustrating”.
“The way I’d put it is, that at 113 cases, this is very much like a public health bushfire and we’re getting close putting it out,” he said.
“If we were to reopen at 113 while the fire’s still going — not smouldering, actually still burning — then it would only be a matter of time before it got away from us again.
“So we need to put the thing out, get it down to such low levels that we can sit on it, we can absolutely make sure we’ve got confidence that we can contain it.
“Otherwise if you leave the thing smouldering, then of course it’s only a matter of time before it runs. And then you’ll have a situation where we are back into something like stage four.”
storms swept through Victoria, cutting power to tens of thousands of homes and resulting in the deaths of three people.
During his coronavirus briefing, Mr Andrews offered the state’s condolences and sympathies to the families of three people who had been killed by falling trees, including a four-year-old boy.
The Government has released guidance for people who need to help family or friends affected by the storms, given the stay-at-home orders in place.
Victoria’s latest postcode data shows active coronavirus cases are continuing to decline across Melbourne’s hotspots.
Postcode 3029 in Melbourne’s west, which includes the suburbs Tarneit, Hoppers Crossing and Truganina, had 177 active cases as of Thursday, down by 101 on last week.
More to come.