Victoria has reported 51,356 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths, as reporting for mass rapid antigen testing comes into play.
Saturday’s case numbers are more than double Friday’s figure.
The state is managing more than 83,000 active cases. There are 644 patients in hospital, the same number as the previous day.
Some 106 are in ICUs, compared to 58 on Friday and 24 on ventilation, with that figure also unchanged from the previous day.
Health authorities say almost half (26,428) the positive cases in the past 24 hours were revealed using rapid antigen tests (RATs).
A further 24,928 positive results came via PCR lab tests, of which more than 89,000 were conducted.
It is expected Victoria’s new RAT reporting system will eventually be able to handle more than 50,000 positive cases a day.
A hotline and mandatory online reporting for those who test positive to a RAT opened on Friday.
Anyone who tests positive will be classified as a “probable” case and must isolate for seven days and notify their contacts. They will receive the same clinical and financial support as PCR confirmed cases.
The RATs have at times proved difficult to find but it’s hoped their use will reduce pressure on the overloaded PCR testing system.
By 9am on Friday 18 state-run PCR sites had reached capacity and closed, compared to 35 sites at the same time on Thursday, as the RAT rules came into force.
Victoria is rolling out the rapid tests at state-run sites. Four of those sites handed out RATs in a pilot program on Wednesday, and on Thursday that figure rose to 24 mainly metropolitan sites where asymptomatic people were offered the rapid test to use at home.
The 44 million tests ordered by the state are in transit, with early orders already starting to arrive.
Bookings are also open for children five to 11 to be vaccinated, with 25,000 appointments taken up in the 24 hours after bookings opened.
Restrictions have also been reintroduced, including density limits of one person per two square metres for indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.
Victoria recorded 21,728 new cases from 68,202 tests through the PCR lab test system on Friday.