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Victoria’s COVID cases down but still stubbornly high

Melbourne iconic arcades and laneways are slowly coming back to life now that the lockdowns are over. Photo: AAP
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Victoria has recorded 1268 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and seven more people have died, as punters ready themselves for the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

The health department confirmed on Saturday the state is now managing 16,662 active cases.

There are 651 Victorians in hospital, of whom 106 are in intensive care including 70 on ventilators. The seven-day average is now at 667.

Another 65,410 tests were processed on Friday and 15,058 vaccines administered at state-run hubs.

About 82 per cent of people aged over 12 are fully vaccinated.

The latest figures come as Stakes Day heads to the starting gate in Melbourne, after two COVID-19 cases were linked to Tuesday’s racing.

The Victoria Racing Club confirmed on Friday a contractor and patron who were at Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day have tested positive for coronavirus.

Both cases are fully vaccinated and not linked to each other.

A safe bet

The affected venues have been deep-cleaned and will be ready for Saturday’s Stakes Day, where a crowd of up to 10,000 is expected to gather for the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the cases showed Victoria’s vaccinated economy system was working and punters should be confident Saturday’s meeting will be “safe”.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s struggling health system will receive $307 million to free up capacity in hospitals and ambulances amid a surge in demand.

The health department is under pressure to release the total number of patients in ICU after it was revealed only infectious patients are being reported in the daily virus numbers.

-AAP