Victoria has confirmed another 1405 COVID cases and a further three deaths, as more than 700 people are forced into isolation after an Omicron-infected patron visited two Melbourne nightspots.
The state was managing 10,781 active cases, the health department confirmed on Wednesday.
There are 365 patients in hospital, 84 of whom are actively infected with the virus in intensive care and 46 on ventilators.
It is Victoria’s highest number of hospitalisations since November 16, when 394 people were in hospital with the virus.
The seven-day hospitalisation average is also on the rise, growing to 335.
Testers processed 77,066 results on Tuesday, while 10,781 people were vaccinated in state-run hubs.
An Omicron case was confirmed to have attended Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight on Friday and then Collingwood’s Peel Hotel between 11.30pm and 3am.
It is estimated about 410 people were at Sircuit and another 320 were at the Peel Hotel at those times.
All have been deemed close contacts and must get a PCR test immediately and isolate at home for seven days if fully vaccinated, or 14 if not.
Patrons at Sircuit from 6-9pm are also being contacted and asked to self-identify if they were there later, with authorities strongly advising them to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
“We’re still learning more about this variant, so we’re taking careful steps to ensure the safety and health of everyone in the community,” the health department said on Wednesday.
Peel Hotel owner Tom McFeely has told Melbourne radio he will likely be forced to shut the bar for a week – at one of the busiest times of the year – because so many of his staff will have to isolate.
“It basically means we have to shut down,” Mr McFeely told 3AW on Wednesday.
“I thought we were learning to live with this damn thing and now this happened.
“All our patrons are double-vaxxed, we make sure of that when they come in.”
Despite Victoria reporting at least six Omicron cases to date, the state government is weighing up easing restrictions this week.
It was flagged in mid-November that mask-wearing in shops would be ditched after December 15, in line with NSW settings, unless there was a “significant jump” in hospitalisations.
But on Wednesday the government was yet to announce any changes, saying it depends on updated health advice before the state’s first pandemic declaration comes into effect at 11.59pm on Wednesday, replacing the current state of emergency.