Victoria records another nine coronavirus deaths and 295 new cases as aged care crisis continues

Seven of the nine deaths announced on Wednesday were linked to aged care settings.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Source: AAP

Victoria has recorded another 295 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths, seven of which are linked to aged care settings.

The people who died were aged in their 60s to their 90s, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday morning.

There are now 804 active cases of COVID-19 connected to Victoria's aged care sector, both staff and residents.

On Tuesday, the Victorian government announced it would transfer patients out of aged care facilities and into public and private hospitals.

Mr Andrews said 80 residents at St Basil's in Fawkner - the second worst-hit facility in the state after Estia Health in Ardeer - and 34 at Epping Gardens have already been transferred out.

He also said Australian Defence Force medics and nurses from Victoria’s public hospital system have filled around 400 shifts in aged care.

“I often describe our health professionals as heroes, we know that, we don't need more evidence," Mr Andrews told reporters.

"Yet every day we see more and more examples that are very, very impressive. It's hard to find the words, define their commitment and courage and the work they do and these are very challenging environments."

Mr Andrews also announced on Wednesday public health workers and ADF personnel would start knocking on the doors of every positive coronavirus case in the state.

Wednesday's figures took the state's death toll from the virus to 92 and the national toll to 176.

There are now 307 Victorians in hospital, 41 of whom are in intensive care. There are 4,849 active recorded cases in total, with 195 in regional Victoria.

Earlier in the day, federal health department secretary Brendan Murphy said there has been outbreaks in 77 of Victoria’s roughly 770 aged care facilities so far.

“It's not the fault that those facilities have outbreaks, that they have had cases introduced … the incursions of this virus into facilities are essentially unavoidable,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Authorities would look into reported breaches of restrictions “in the retrospective analysis” of the outbreaks, he added.

Fractures between federal ministers and Mr Andrews appeared to emerge on Tuesday after the Victorian premier said he wouldn't want his mother to be in some affected private nursing homes.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday morning called the situation in Victoria "very distressing", but said reports of a breakdown in relations were exaggerated.

"The premier and I enjoy a very good working relationship," he told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Andrews said all leaders and health officials were focused on fixing the serious issues in aged care.

"The only argument and fight that matters is the fight against this deadly virus. That's what I am focused on," he said.

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. It is also mandatory 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.

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

With AAP.


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Published 29 July 2020 at 12:08pm, updated 29 July 2020 at 12:36pm
By Evan Young