News Coronavirus Victoria records 5919 new COVID-19 cases
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Victoria records 5919 new COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 Melbourne
Large queues at a drive-through testing site at Albert Park in Melbourne. Photo: AAP
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Victorians have a revised set of testing and isolation rules as the state recorded 5919 new COVID-19 cases in another record day of infections.

Positive cases in Victoria must now isolate for seven days – rather than 10 days – regardless of vaccination status, heath minister Martin Foley told reporters on Friday.

The move is in line with the agreed changes from Thursday’s national cabinet meeting.

Household contacts of positive contacts must also isolate for seven days, replacing a seven-day quarantine period for fully-vaccinated people and a 14-day quarantine period for those not fully vaccinated.

Household contacts can get a rapid antigen test on day one and six if they are not symptomatic, but must get a PCR test if they are symptomatic.

Workplace and school contacts are no longer required to get a test and isolate themselves until they receive a result.

Mr Foley said the changes would allow Victoria to reduce its burden on gold standard PCR testing as it transitions to rapid antigen testing.

This comes as the state set another coronavirus record on Friday, with the number of new daily cases jumping by more than 780 along with seven deaths.

But Mr Foley said Victoria was not poised for another statewide lockdown.

“I’m confident that with the support of the community, (while) keeping the interests of our hospital system and our health care system at the heart of what we do, we can stay safe and we can stay safe open,” the health minister said.

More than 66,700 tests were processed on Thursday, with sites buckling under the demand and having to close early in the day after reaching capacity.

Mr Foley said only people who have showed symptomatic signs of COVID-19 or tested positive in a rapid antigen test should get PCR tested.

With temperatures set to soar across the New Year weekend, people are warned the weather could close sites too.

“Some testing sites may need to close over the next three days due to excessive heat, particularly those located outdoors in tents,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s daily update email says.

“Temperature inside the tents can rise even 10 degrees higher, and testing staff work in full PPE.”

Meanwhile, despite the changes in testing and isolation requirements, Mr Foley said QR codes would continue to play a role in Victoria’s fight against COVID-19.

“QR coding is the key tool for early detection,” he said.

The number of active Victorian coronavirus cases has grown to 28,044.

There are 54 people with the virus in intensive care and 428 in total in hospital, with the seven-day hospitalisation average at 392.

However, there are fewer people on ventilators – 21 on Friday, down from 23 on Thursday and 28 on Wednesday.

Ninety-three per cent of the Victorian population aged 12 years or above has now been fully vaccinated.

-AAP