Covid 19 coronavirus Australia: Victoria reports 71 new community cases – highest daily total since September

Victoria has recorded 71 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases – its highest daily infection total since September 2020.

Of today’s 71 local cases, 49 are linked to known outbreaks and 22 are under investigation. Further case information will be provided this morning.

It comes as pressure mounts on the state’s hospital system after hundreds of staff in Melbourne were forced to self-isolate.

Authorities believe a man from Shepparton, in northern Victoria, brought the virus to the Royal Melbourne Hospital when he travelled to the city to undergo surgery.

Victoria Health Department deputy secretary Kate Matson said the man then infected a woman with whom he shared a room in the cardiac ward, who in turned infected a visitor.

She said “hundreds” of staff members had been stood aside after the three positive cases emerged on Saturday, but she did not have a firm number yet, saying the man had visited the Royal Melbourne’s radiology and intensive care units.

Victoria recorded 65 cases on Sunday, 21 of them linked to the Shepparton outbreak and reported on Saturday.

Concerningly, only 12 of the 65 cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period.

Of the new cases, 55 were linked to current outbreaks, while 10 were under investigation.

Meanwhile, health officials are concerned about the number of children and young people catching the virus in the state, with 103 active cases currently below the age of 9. Of Victoria’s 440 active cases, 259 are under the age of 30.

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley yesterday expressed concern over a “significant” spike in Covid-19 hospitalisations.

“There are now some 440 active coronavirus cases in Victoria [and] 27 people are now in hospital,” Foley said.

“That is a significant jump from where we were in recent days. Twelve of those 27 are in [intensive care] and five are on a ventilator.

“We send our best wishes and support to all those people who are struggling with this virus.”

New South Wales

Pressure is mounting on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as the state’s Delta outbreak continues to escalate.

Sunday’s 830 new local infections were the highest number recorded by any Australian jurisdiction in a 24-hour period since the coronavirus pandemic began. There were also three more deaths.

Speaking at yesterday’s update, Berejiklian repeatedly urged people to get vaccinated in order to meet the 70 per cent goal by the end of October, and projected the state would reach the 80 per cent milestone in mid-November.

But Berejiklian’s response to questions about her handling of the outbreak prompted frustration on social media and saw the hashtag #GladysResign trending.

“Every day [we are] turning to you as the leader of the state for some level of hope [but] the numbers are going up. You announced tougher restrictions on the southwestern part of city yesterday. If we are all in this together, why isn’t this a blanket rule across the state to reduce mobility?” a journalist asked the premier in the first question of the day.

In reply, Berejiklian instead addressed the state’s vaccination rate.

“What is really important to note is that while case numbers are going up, the more important figure going up is the vaccination rate,” she said.

“The vaccination rate is where we can look forward to living life freely. What we need to do is to make sure that when we get to that 70 per cent double dose in New South Wales and that 80 per cent New South Wales double dose, while trying to keep the case numbers as low as possible.

“What we do also have to accept is how we actually talk about this disease moving forward. Once you get to 70 per cent double doses, it will be a situation where the vaccine rate will be more critical than how many cases we have.”

Berejiklian said no state was immune to the Delta strain.

“We have seen examples in other parts of Australia where even under very strict lockdown conditions, the virus keeps growing, that’s how insidious it is.

“There will always be debate about going too hard, going to soft, we started off with 11 cases in New South Wales, 17 overnight when we went into lockdown, and it just demonstrates that no matter how hard we work and no matter if 99 per cent of people are doing the right thing, there is an element of Delta that nobody can control.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday penned an op-ed advocating for the country to shift its focus from case numbers to hospitalisation rates.

“While right now our national strategy is necessarily about suppressing the virus and vaccinating as many people as possible, a one-eyed focus on just case numbers overlooks the fact that less people are getting seriously ill, let alone dying,” Morrison wrote.

“Shifting our focus from just case numbers, to actually looking at how many people are becoming seriously ill and requiring hospitalisation will be increasingly what matters. After all, this is how we manage all other infectious diseases.

“Under our national plan, when we start hitting the 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination targets, we can start claiming back what Covid has been taking away from us. And when we do so, we must not be intimidated by the case numbers that will inevitably increase.

“We will be able to better handle them then, because of all the improvements we have made to protect people from serious illness and fatality.”

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