“The numbers are bouncing around a little bit … but we’re not going to see 300 to 400 [new daily cases] again in Victoria, not under my watch.”
Victoria reported 208 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases to 4012, but Professor Sutton said he believed that figure would be in the mid-3000s under a review of the definition of active cases by federal health authorities.
New cases nudged above 200 again for the first time in three days, but Professor Sutton said the seven-day moving average was down and there was stabilisation in the number of active cases among healthcare workers and in aged care.
“I certainly hope we’re in double figures [at the end of stage four],” Professor Sutton said.
“If we’re in single figures, I think that would be ambitious, but it’d be great … so the tail has lots of dependencies in terms of how we manage the downslope of this curve.”
The state recorded 17 deaths on Sunday, 11 of which were connected to aged care outbreaks, bringing Victoria’s death toll to 415.
The state Health Department identified a further 82 “mystery” cases – where the source of transmission cannot be traced – bringing the total to 3920.
Of the 208 new cases announced on Sunday, 46 are linked to outbreaks, while 162 remain under investigation.
The Health Department is investigating cases linked to two aged care facilities: Princeton View Aged Care in Brighton and Estia Health in Keysborough. There are also new cases linked to a ward at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
The government is bracing for a “challenging” three weeks further driving down daily case numbers.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned it could take “only a few bad choices or some bad luck” to accelerate community transmission when case numbers were so low.
Victoria Police issued 199 fines for breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directions in the 24 hours to Sunday morning.
Twenty were to people who failed to wear face coverings and 73 were for curfew breaches.
Mr Andrews said he hoped to establish a “COVID-normal” economy by December, but he did not know when restrictions could begin easing.
The government is expected to make an announcement on the AFL grand final this week, but there are no plans yet for the Melbourne Cup in November.
Pleas to “stay the course” came as the Premier unveiled the “Click for Vic” campaign, an online initiative to promote Victorian produce, galleries and homewares.
Mr Andrews said more than 126,000 applications for the business support fund had been approved, totalling $1.3 billion.
Almost 25,000 people had shared in $8.89 million of isolation support.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien urged the state government to announce more support for small businesses, especially sole traders.
Almost all of Victoria’s second surge of coronavirus infections can be linked to travellers quarantined at two hotels. An inquiry into hotel quarantine will continue on Monday, with evidence from a returned traveller and two security guards.
Sumeyya is a state political reporter for The Age.