Coronavirus tracers fanning out across Victoria to stop infections leaking from lockdown areas

After 12 consecutive days of triple digit increases in COVID-19 cases, Victoria is fighting a battle on multiple fronts to contain the deadly disease.

Public health teams are scattering across Melbourne to keep a lid on a surging coronavirus outbreak.

Public health teams are scattering across Melbourne to keep a lid on a surging coronavirus outbreak. Source: AAP

Victoria's coronavirus outbreak is being fought on multiple fronts with daily case increases in clusters linked to hospitals, aged care, public housing and other sites.

Public health experts are being sent to Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, the Latrobe Valley and Shepparton to trace contacts, identify new cases and inform future decisions about restrictions.

Testing sites are being expanded and new ones will be set up in regional areas. 

The state recorded 428 fresh cases and three new deaths on Friday, bringing total active cases to 2462 and total Victorian deaths to 32.

Over the past four weeks some 40 cases have been recorded in local government areas outside of the Melbourne lockdown.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he hoped numbers would stabilise while at the same time predicting more deaths from Friday's cases alone.

"Tragically, there will be several who require intensive care support, and a number of people will die, and whenever we have a day with these numbers that is the case, so it has to turn around," Professor Sutton said.

A male prisoner at the Melbourne Remand Centre is among the latest confirmed cases, prompting rights advocates to urge for low-risk prisoners to be released from jail.

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service is particularly concerned for Indigenous inmates who are disproportionately represented in jails and prone to poor health.

Hospitals are making room for a surge in coronavirus patients as concerns grow about the pressure on healthcare workers.

Cases have been confirmed at Brunswick Private Hospital, Monash Health, Northern Hospital, the Royal Children's Hospital, the Royal Women's Hospital and St Vincent's Hospital.

Aged care homes in Brighton, Plenty, Greensborough, Werribee and Sunshine are the source of some of the newest cases.

Menarock Life Aged Care Facility in Essendon has 38 cases and all residents are being moved into hospitals for their protection.

Despite the mounting challenges, the government has turned its attention beyond the stage three restriction "ring" around metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Premier Daniel Andrews encouraged regional Victorians to wear masks on Friday, saying they could make their own mask or even just wear a scarf when it was hard to social distance.

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. People are also advised to wear masks in public.

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.

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3 min read
Published 18 July 2020 at 6:50am
Source: AAP, SBS