Australia

Another 21 coronavirus deaths and 410 cases mark Victoria's deadliest day of pandemic

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Source: AAP

Victoria announced another 21 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, surpassing the previous highest daily number of 19.

Another 21 Victorians have died and 410 others have contracted coronavirus, with more than 100 infections now among clients and staff in the disabilities support sector.

Wednesday's record number of deaths takes the state toll to 267 and the national toll to 352.

The new deaths include two women and one man in their 70s, six women and five men in their 80s, five men and one woman in their 90s and one woman in her 100s.

Sixteen of the 21 deaths are linked to aged care outbreaks, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Victorian authorities had warned deaths would continue to rise given the number of people in hospital with the virus. 

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told a parliamentary inquiry into the state's handling of the pandemic on Tuesday that 20 deaths a day was "relatively modest" compared with what was happening in other parts of the world.

As of Wednesday, 662 Victorians are in hospital. Forty-three of those are in intensive care, with 25 requiring a ventilator.

There are 7,877 active infections across Victoria, including 2,961 cases with an unknown source and 1,929 in aged care settings. Six of the cases in aged care are in state government-managed public facilities and 1,923 are in private centres. 

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Mr Andrews said the state has a growing number of active cases in disability care, including 56 infections in state government-funded transfer homes and one in a standard disability home.

A further 20 residential clients and 61 staff members have also contracted the virus. 

The premier said a similar partnership has been set up to coordinate the state's response in the disability care sector it has done in aged care. 

"Any cases amongst vulnerable groups are concerned but I think important to note it is a really important partnership and one that has served us and will continue to when it comes to those settings," Mr Andrews said.  

There are now 1,079 active cases among the state's healthcare workers, Mr Andrews said.

He said work into how those on the frontline are contracting the virus is ongoing and that the state government will provide a "very detailed breakdown" into workforce transmission next week. 

Early analysis indicates the majority of healthcare workers are acquiring COVID-19 outside their workplace, the premier added. 

A healthcare worker conducts coronavirus screening inside a Melbourne hospital.
A healthcare worker conducts coronavirus screening inside a Melbourne hospital.
AAP

Wednesday's figures come amid a war of words between the state and federal governments over Victoria's botched hotel quarantine scheme.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the Australian Defence Force had not been on offer to guard the hotels when the scheme began.

But Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said ADF support had been offered to Victoria on multiple occasions.

Concerns for regional Victoria

Meanwhile, residents are being urged to reconsider travelling to and from regional Victoria as coronavirus cases there grow.

Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo are an increasing worry to the state government, despite their stable infection rates.

"They are very low numbers but coming off such a low base, any additional cases are of concern to us," Mr Andrews said.

"But even at low numbers, we've just got to have that vigilance across the board so we can keep them low and, indeed, drive them down even further."

Mr Andrews is urging regional Victorians and Melburnians to make choices that do not contribute to the virus' spread.

Regional Victoria is currently under Stage 3 restrictions, with residents only able to leave their homes to shop for food and essential items, to provide or receive care, exercise and for work or study if they can't from home.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am.

During the curfew, people in Melbourne can only leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons. Between 5am and 8pm, people in Melbourne can leave the home for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative.

All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. 

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

With AAP.

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