News State Victoria News Victoria’s COVID case numbers dip even as 41 more lives are lost

Victoria’s COVID case numbers dip even as 41 more lives are lost

Elective surgeries are once again available to Victorians, albeit in reduced numbers. Photo: Getty
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Victoria has recorded another 41 COVID-related deaths and 7810 new cases, as surgeons ready to make a dent on the state’s spiralling elective procedure wait list.

Of Saturday’s new cases, 5099 are positive rapid antigen tests and 2711 positive PCR tests.

It is the lowest daily figure since January 2 when 7172 cases were reported and drops the total number of active cases in the state by 2559 to 63,409.

Hospitalisations with COVID-19 have also fallen by 20 to 687 patients, with 80 people in intensive care. Thirty-one of those patients are on a ventilator.

The state’s falling COVID-19 hospital figures will allow non-urgent elective surgery to resume at 50 per cent of normal levels from Monday in Victorian private hospitals and day procedure centres as part of a staged restart plan.

Health Minister Martin Foley said health authorities expected numbers to either gradually continue to reduce or plateau, paving the way for category two and three elective procedures to restart.

The latest data shows Victoria’s elective surgery waiting list blew out from 67,177 in late September to 80,826 by year’s end, before the month-long pause.

Mr Foley said further resumption of elective surgery would depend on updated health advice next week, taking into account seven-day rolling average hospital case figures.

The state government also unveiled a $1.4 billion funding package for the health system, including $938 million for public hospitals, $161 million for its PPE stockpile and more than $30 million for critical medicines and equipment.