Australia records almost 300 new coronavirus cases, but hospitals still have 'significant capacity', says DCMO

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth Source: AAP

Australia has recorded almost 300 new cases of COVID-19, with the vast majority of them coming from Victoria.

Australia has recorded almost 300 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, according to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth. 

Victoria has recorded 275 cases, with an additional 20 cases in New South Wales and with one case in Queensland. 

It comes as Dr Coatsworth said that intensive care units in hospitals were still well below capacity. 

"Based on normal capacity in Victoria, only 82 per cent of beds are currently being used. That is mirrored more or less also the case nationally," he said.

"Now, that's an important number, because in the middle of what we would usually term as our flu season, where our intensive care units would often be close to 100 per cent capacity, we still have the existing capacity, within our system, without surging," he said. 

He said that hospitals operating below capacity was leading to better patient outcomes than seen in other countries.

Meanwhile in Victoria a woman in an aged care home has died, taking the number of total deaths in the state to 39. 

Monday's daily case tally marks a significant decrease from Sunday when 363 new infections and three deaths were recorded in Victoria.

Victorians approach two weeks at home

"We still haven't reached the two-week mark. It won't be until Wednesday that we get to the full two weeks of the stay at home orders across all of metro Melbourne," he said. "We shouldn't interpret this data as if we're in week five of a six-week lockdown."

Wednesday will mark two-weeks of Stay At Home orders across all of Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, with at least four more weeks to follow.

Residents of these areas are only permitted to leave the house for four reasons; to buy essential supplies, to study or work if unable to do so from home, to exercise, and for medical or caregiving reasons. 

"I don't want anyone to think that just because we have had a couple of days where we have seen a decrease, that somehow a corner has been turned and we can be less vigilant about following these rules," Mr Andrews said.

A day earlier, Mr Andrews announced wearing masks in public will be made mandatory for residents of Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire from Thursday.

NSW on 'high alert'

Meanwhile in NSW, the state recorded its highest number of new daily infections since 19 April, when the state reported 21 cases.

“Our state continues to be on extremely high alert," Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Monday morning.

"But we also know our state continues to be at a critical point — we have the opportunity to isolate the cases that we have to clamp down and to make sure we reduce the incidence of the virus spreading.

"Unfortunately, other places don't have that opportunity."

There are now 96 people in hospital across the state and two in intensive care, including one person in their 30s.

Of the new cases announced on Monday, three are linked to the Casula Crossroads Hotel cluster in south-west Sydney, bringing the total cases there to 48.

Meanwhile, Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on the NSW South Coast has been forced to close its doors for two weeks after eight people who attended the venue tested positive, including a staff member.

Anyone who attended the club on 13, 15, 16 or 17 July has been advised to immediately self-isolate for 14 days.

"The concern in Batemans Bay is the ageing population down there and the transient nature over the school holidays of the population," NSW Police Minister David Elliott told the Seven Network on Monday.

"Make sure you don't put yourself in a position or situation where you can pass (the virus) on."

Mr Elliott also labelled a 60-strong house party in northwest Sydney's Schofields on Saturday night "stupidity at the highest level".

He said he hoped all 60 people would be hit with $1,000 fines for breaching health orders, as police intend.

Of that 60, 30 will also be punished for refusing move-on directions from police.

New case in Tasmania

Meanwhile, Tasmania has confirmed a case of coronavirus in hotel quarantine, the island state's first new case in more than two months.

The case is a young woman who has been in hotel quarantine after returning to Tasmania from Victoria.
The woman is currently receiving treatment at the Royal Hobart Hospital, and Public Health Services are conducting contact tracing.

Tasmania last recorded a new COVID-19 infection more than 60 days ago and became free of active virus cases in mid-June.

More than 600 people are currently in state-government-operated quarantine facilities and about 1,000 are undertaking self-isolation at home. 

"We are in a good place, compared to Victoria, NSW and the challenges they are facing," Premier Peter Gutwein said.

Mr Gutwein urged people to maintain social distancing measures.

"For many Tasmanians, I think our biggest challenge is complacency," he said.

Tasmania, which was the first jurisdiction in Australia to close its borders, has had 227 recorded cases.

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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