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Victoria records fifth death as confirmed COVID-19 cases top 1000

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“My thoughts are with this elderly woman’s family,” she said.

The latest figures show Victorian cases have now hit 1036, with 68 new cases confirmed overnight.

There were also 57 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission. It’s the state’s largest single-day increase of cases that did not originate from overseas travellers and indicates a localised spread of the virus.

Thirty-six people are in hospital, including six patients in intensive care, and 422 people have recovered. More than 49,000 tests have been conducted to date.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton also revealed more than 100 health workers, including doctors and nurses, had tested positive to COVID-19. That represents about 10 per cent of all cases in the state.

Dr Sutton said he was worried about the rising rate of community transmission but the effect of the latest restrictions would not be apparent for up to 12 days after they were enacted.

He said expanded testing would also detect rises in community transmission.

“Having an increase in numbers that we can detect means we can isolate those individuals and we can have their close contacts in quarantine,” he said. “But it’s absolutely a concern to see a rise.”

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Dr Sutton said the peak in transmissions may still occur in May or June but that could be delayed until later in the year if the social distancing restrictions were strictly observed.

“That would be a good thing. It means that the curve will stay flat but our health systems won’t be overwhelmed.”

Authorities are aware of just one returned traveller now quarantined in a hotel who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Ms Mikakos also announced the group of people who qualify for testing would be expanded to include those in public-facing occupations at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

With fewer overseas travellers arriving, the state now has greater capacity to increase the scope of testing. Before the announcement, a person needed to fit a strict criteria to be tested.

Police, healthcare workers, disability workers, aged care staff, homelessness workers and prison staff are now eligible to be tested.

Immunosuppressed patients in hospital will also now be eligible.

Ms Mikakos also pleaded with Victorians to get a flu jab and for workplaces to continue to provide jabs for employees despite many of them working from home.

Pharmacists can now give the jab to children aged 10 and over, bringing the minimum age down from 16, she said.

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