Victoria records 733 virus cases, warning for grand final long weekend

Victoria has recorded 733 new local COVID-19 cases and one more death as health officials plead for footy fans to celebrate the AFL grand final long weekend at home.
The figure comes after experts warned Victorians should brace for daily COVID-19 case numbers of 1000 or more as the state struggles to contain the Delta outbreak.

The state’s one new death from COVID-19 is a woman in her 80s from Melbourne’s north.

Victoria records 733 more local COVID-19 cases, one new death. (Nine)

There are 297 people in Victorian hospitals and 66 of those are in intensive care.

A large number of aged care residents from a Meadow Heights facility have been moved into a hospital setting as a precaution following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Victoria’s active number of cases sits at 7160 infections.

More than 41,000 vaccines doses were administered yesterday and 56,520 test results received.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton today urged for Victorians to refrain from illegally gathering over the grand final long weekend.

“Enjoy your fancy cheese boards or whatever you want to enjoy at home,” he said.

“Put the barbecue on, put your iPad up, have your phones on FaceTime, cry, scream and laugh over the internet to connect with friends and family and enjoy the spirit of the day in full.

“Don’t go to households, don’t think that you’ll be alright … that’s how we are seeing transmission occur.”

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton implored Victorians to stay home this grand final long weekend. (Nine)

A bulk of Victoria’s COVID-19 infections can be linked back to illegal household gatherings.

“I want people to enjoy the weekend but please be aware of that risk and don’t be the person to put your household, put your mates and family at risk,” Professor Sutton said.

The compliance message comes as Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed Victoria will not meet its 80 per cent first dose vaccine target by Sunday – despite a record turnout for COVID-19 vaccinations this week.

Melbourne Town Hall is administering vaccine doses but the hub was forced to close during yesterday’s protests. (Jason South)

Once Victoria hits the 80 per cent first dose milestone, outdoor recreational activities such as basketball, golf, tennis and cricket will be permitted, with the same limits that apply to outdoor socialising.

Mr Foley said current projections show the state is due to hit the target “mid to late next week”.

Victoria’s roadmap initially suggested the state would reach the milestone as soon as Sunday.

“As soon as we get there, the next tick off of the roadmap to recovery kicks in,” he said.

Moderna vaccine available at state clinics next week

The Moderna vaccine will be available in Victoria’s state-run clinics from next week.

Victoria has received 32,000 initial doses to administer across its vaccine hubs.

“We welcome the addition of this particular vaccine into the toolkit of the state vaccine hubs as another opportunity for us to continually ramp up our vaccine efforts,” Mr Foley said.

Pharmacies will be receiving more than 300,000 doses of Moderna over the coming weeks and those will be distributed across more than 700 locations in the state.

A vial of COVID-19 Moderna vaccine.
The Moderna vaccine will be available in Victoria’s state-run clinics from next week. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Victoria’s COVID-19 case breakdown

The majority of Victoria’s new COVID-19 cases are in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

The breakdown of today’s 733 cases includes:

  • 427 cases in Melbourne’s north including 243 in Hume, 71 in Craigieburn, 58 in Roxburgh Park and 20 in Meadow Heights
  • 23 per cent of cases are in the western suburbs, including Altona North, Tarneit and Point Cook
  • 10 per cent of cases are in the south-eastern suburbs, including in Cranbourne East and Dandenong
  • Four per cent of cases are in the eastern suburbs, including in Doncaster East
  • There are 27 new cases in regional Victoria, including one new case in Ballarat who may have been infectious in the community, a case in Baw Baw, three cases in Campaspe, five new cases in Geelong, one case in Shepparton, one case in the Macedon Ranges, nine cases in the Mitchell Shire, two cases in Moorabool, one case in Wangaratta and two cases in Wodonga

Fears of a ‘superspreader’ event after protester contracts virus

Infectious diseases expert Professor Robert Booy earlier told Today he fears Victorian cases are spiralling out of control.

“It is a worry and it is not in control … I can see this going to 1000 just as New South Wales did peaking out at a largish number and falling again,” he said.

Professor Booy said people failing to comply with public health orders was a major problem for Victorian authorities.

“The age-old problem is compliance. People playing by the rules,” he said.

“If 99 per cent do (comply), there are still tens of thousands that don’t.”

CFMEU members and other people angry about mandatory vaccinations and lockdowns form a protest at the Shrine of Remembrance.
A health expert is warning this week’s protests in Melbourne have the making of a super spreader event after a demonstrator was hospitalised with coronavirus. (Jason South)

Professor Booy suggested police and community leaders needed to further monitor residents’ behaviour to stop breaches of health orders.

The Department of Health confirmed that a person who attended the protests on Wednesday is being treated for the virus.

Professor Booy said conditions during the protests made further infections likely.

“Crowding, running, shouting, many without masks and most unvaccinated. They have the ventilation of being outside, but all the other ingredients of a spreading event,” he said.

Professor Sutton today slammed the protests as an “insult to every healthcare worker”.

“Whether or not this is a super-spreader event, we will see a picture of it in a couple of week’s time,” he said.

A department spokesperson said public health investigations were underway and has urged anyone who attended the protests and experienced a COVID-19 symptom should get tested immediately.

Police today are bracing for further protests over a push to scrap mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for the construction industry.

Arrests made as police rove Melbourne in force

Up to 1000 protesters took the streets of Melbourne’s CBD on Wednesday after thousands gathered in the city to protest on Tuesday.

Victoria Police arrested 215 people on Wednesday and made a further 92 arrests yesterday, despite a far quieter and more relaxed day of demonstrations.

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