Victoria records 317 new COVID-19 cases

VICTORIA has recorded 317 new COVID-19 cases overnight – the state’s biggest daily increase so far.

This brings Victoria’s active total to 2128 cases.

There are 28 new cases connected to contained outbreaks and complex cases, but 289 are under investigation.

There have been two more deaths overnight, after two men in their 80s died, bringing the total number of Victorian deaths to 29.

There are 109 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 29 people in intensive care.

Victoria’s total number of cases is now at 4750 cases since the pandemic began.

There were 28,607 tests undertaken on Wednesday, bringing the total to 1,225,999 tests taken since January 1.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there was “some relative stability to these numbers”, but it will be a few more weeks time before the results of the lockdown are reflected in data.

He added the life cycle of the virus meant the actions people took today would not be reflected in data for at least two weeks.

“That’s why this is a six week stay at home lockdown – that’s three full life cycles of this virus,” he said.

The Premier said there had been a lot of talk regarding stage four restrictions, but there were no announcements to be made today regarding moving to another level.

“It’s well too early for us to be moving to a whole new stage,” he said.

“If you want to make that [stage four] less likely, if you want to get out of these sorts of restrictions as fast as possible, then we all have to play our part.”

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it was possible Victoria still had not hit its peak.

“In some ways, I expect it to turn around this week, but as I’ve always said, it’s no guarantee – it’s upon all of us to turn this number around,” Professor Sutton said.

“The stage three restrictions have been in place for about a week, with an average incubation period of about five or six days, plus the time for notification to get these numbers in, we would really expect a plateauing in the next couple of days, but we cannot be complacent and expect that is going to happen automatically.”

Professor Sutton said he was still reading misinformation being posted on social media – that 29 deaths in not much compared to an average flu season.

“These are the deaths that you have when you have your controls in place,” he said.

“When you do not have your controls in place, and the restrictions we have applied across metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and indeed across the state to some degree … you get up to 10,000 cases or more a day, as has occurred in some countries, and you get up to 1000 deaths per day, as has occurred in countries in Europe and Brazil and elsewhere.

“The idea that 29 deaths is nothing, and we can lift all restrictions and we can let it run, is absurd.

“If we don’t do it, it will be hundreds or thousands of deaths.”

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos advised more than 1000 intensive care unit and critical care beds had been established in metropolitan and regional hospitals, as a result of the $1.9 billion announced earlier this year.

The $30 million project to recommission 84 additional beds in the old Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, renamed to St Vincent’s on the Park, is now complete, and will be managed by St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

Extra beds have also been delivered at Casey Hospital, Baxter House in Geelong, Bendigo Hospital and Shepparton Hospital.

Elective surgery will once again be paused, with all category three surgeries to be suspended.

Public hospitals will be reduced to 50 per cent of normal activity, and private hospitals to 75 per cent, to create additional capacity.

There are about 86 million gloves, 34 million surgical masks, 1.4 million N95 masks and 2.2 million face shields currently available in Victoria’s warehouse ready to be distributed to health services across the state.

There are 1200 ventilators currently in Victorian health services, with hundreds more ready to deploy in the warehouse if needed, and thousands more on order – as well as more than a thousand IV pumps and hundreds of patient monitors.

“Our hospitals are well prepared to respond to this second wave of coronavirus cases,” she said.

“I think you’re aware that we have seen an increase in hospitalisations in the past two weeks as the Premier outlined.

“We hope this additional capacity will never be needed.

“If everyone follows the rules, and stays home as much as is possible, we will not see more people end up in hospital.”