Victoria’s local COVID-19 cases have spiked to 22 as the state begins its second week of lockdown.
Wednesday’s new infections are all linked to known outbreaks, which have reached 107 active cases.
Victoria also has five coronavirus patients in hospital, including one in intensive care.
Health Minister Martin Foley said 16 of the latest cases had been in isolation throughout their infectious period.
There were only a handful of new exposure sites for the remaining six because of the state’s lockdown.
“That should give us a degree of confidence and hope that this response we’re now into is working,” he said.
Wednesday’s update – the biggest single-day spike in Victoria’s latest outbreak yet – came from a record 59,355 test results across the state.
The latest cases are:
- Five linked to Trinity Grammar School;
- Five linked to Ms Frankie’s restaurant in Cremorne;
- Three linked to Young and Jackson;
- Three are linked to St Patrick’s Primary School, Murrumbeena;
- Two linked to the rugby union Test at AAMI Park;
- Two linked to Bacchus Marsh Grammar;
- A worker from the West Gate Tunnel construction project;
- A family member of the previously unlinked case announced on Monday. Both have since been linked to the City of Hume family who returned from NSW earlier in July.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton said authorities remained concerned about the AAMI Park and MCG transmission. People caught up in exposure sites from both big stadiums have been told to remain in quarantine, even if they have returned negative tests.
There are more than 300 exposure sites across Victoria, and they are being updated at least daily with new case information.
“Please keep at it as those tests return and we just get more and more assurance that we’ve got control of this,” he said.
“Twenty-two is a large number … but 16 of 22 fully isolated for the entire infectious period is a really good sign that’s changed dramatically in the last couple of days. I expect it to keep improving over time.”
- See all of Victoria’s exposure sites here
Professor Sutton wouldn’t be drawn on plans beyond the scheduled end to Victoria’s lockdown on July 27, but said he thought the state was “on track”.
“But the Delta variant has made us spike to 107 cases just within a nine-day period, whereas we took a month to reach that in our previous outbreak,” he said.
“You have to be so careful, precautionary and fast with this variant.”
He said he thought the number of people out in the community while infectious had peaked, but there might still be higher case numbers to come as household contacts contracted the virus. But last week’s lockdown had prevented even higher numbers.
“If we locked down today instead of when we did, we would get
thousands of cases over the next couple weeks because of where we’ve gotten to, even in lockdown now,” he said.
A beefed-up state government support package for lockdown-hit businesses was also unveiled on Wednesday.
The Victorian government will offer an additional $282.5 million in grants to help 90,000 businesses hit hard by the extended lockdown.
Industry Recovery and Support Minister Martin Pakula said the Victorian government had provided almost $7 billion in economic support for businesses throughout the pandemic.
“Both the Health Minister and I are profoundly hopeful that we don’t have to go through this again, but we recognise that this is a very dynamic environment,” he said.
‘Nip this in the bud’ in SA
South Australia’s COVID-19 cluster has grown to six and more exposure sites have been revealed but the state still has a chance to “nip this in the bud”, Premier Steven Marshall says.
The one new case is linked to an Adelaide restaurant where a birthday party was held last week, which authorities fear could become a super-spreader event.
Mr Marshall also revealed the state government would extend income assistance to people statewide on top of federal assistance for those missing out on work in Adelaide as he thanked South Australians for abiding by lockdown rules and getting tested in record numbers.
“We’ve got one shot to stop this outbreak dead in its tracks,” Mr Marshall said on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a chance to nip this in the bud. We don’t want to have an extended lockdown in South Australia.”
- See all of South Australia’s exposure sites here
He said officials were “pulling every single lever possible” to increase testing capacity amid continued reports of long lines and long waits at testing centres.
“We don’t want people angry and frustrated with delays. We are ramping up capacity across testing sites,” he said.
“We’re doing our very best to massively increase that capacity today.”
SA’s list of exposure sites has grown to more than 50 and includes major shopping centres and schools.
The virus cluster is linked to an 81-year-old man who recently arrived in Australia from Argentina and quarantined in Sydney before travelling to Adelaide where he tested positive.