News State Victoria News Vic COVID cases hit 71 – highest yet in current outbreak
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Vic COVID cases hit 71 – highest yet in current outbreak

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Hundreds of workers have been stood down amid a growing COVID outbreak at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
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Victoria has confirmed 71 more local coronavirus cases, a peak for its latest Delta outbreak.

Premier Daniel Andrews pleaded for people to take isolation requirements seriously, with just 16 of the latest cases in isolation while infectious.

“If you’re asked to isolate, it is incredibly important that you do that,” he said.

“There’s no ducking down the shops or going and visiting someone. There’s no room for error, there is literally no room for error, you have got to be isolating for the entirety of that 14-day period.”

Victoria has 494 active cases, with 29 people in hospital including nine in intensive care, five of whom are on ventilators.

Mr Andrews said nearly 186,000 COVID shots were administered in Victoria last week. And there are more than 52,000 appointments available this week. But he sounded a warning for Victorians.

“The notion we can vaccinate people as fast as the Delta virus infects people, that is not what the Doherty modelling shows, it’s not the national cabinet agreed position,” he said.

“You know, many thousands of patients will overwhelm all of us.”

The latest update brings the total number of active cases in Victoria to 494. They include at least 27 people in hospital and 12 in intensive care.

Of the active infections, 112 are children under 10 and another 100 are aged 10-19.

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said there were 23,000 people in isolation across the state, particularly in Shepparton – where an outbreak that emerged on Friday has risen to 36 infections.

“I expect those numbers to continue to evolve over the coming
days,” he said.

Among those infected are staff at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, who cared for a Shepparton man infected with COVID-19. Hundreds of health workers have been forced into self-isolation due to risk of exposure.

The outbreak has risen to 10.

The Royal Melbourne is Victoria’s biggest and busiest hospital. An outbreak during the state’s second wave shut down four wards and infected about 200 staff members.

But Victorian authorities remain most concerned about mystery cases. There were 22 new mystery infections on Monday, after 11 on Sunday and 10 on Sunday.

“That’s a significant jump. We’re seeing again a spread into new suburbs in the Melbourne area, suburbs like Essendon West, Campbellwell, Thornbury and Fitzroy North, Maidstone and all the way down to Sorrento,” Mr Weimar said.

“Where we find one case, we’re very likely to find more. That shows the growing pattern of coronavirus cases and so important, therefore, not only do people comply with the isolation protocols, but for all of us wherever we’re living in the state, we need to be really aware
that COVID can just be around the corner.

“We can still grab this and get hold of this and manage these numbers down but that’s going to require all of us to work together.”

Regional Victoria began a lockdown at 1pm on Saturday, due to the emergence of the cases in Shepparton and fears the virus had spread to other towns.

Earlier, Victoria Police Chief Commission Shane Patton confirmed police and the health department were investigating a “large funeral” held in Shepparton in the lead-up to the outbreak.

“I know we’re looking at what the numbers were as to whether they exceeded [the 50-person limit],” he told 3AW radio.

Mr Patton also said the number of officers injured during a violent anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday had grown to 21.

While eight of the nine officers taken to hospital have been discharged, one remains and is being assessed for surgery for a leg injury.

Mr Patton has described the protest as one of the most violent the city has seen in 20 years, with officers forced to use non-lethal weapons to defend themselves.

“The vast majority appeared to be between 25- and 40-year-old angry men,” he told ABC Radio.

“It was a mixture of a range of people with no clear leadership, just many people came in with an intention to confront police and with anger and confrontation on their mind, and that’s what occurred.”

-with AAP