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Victoria’s lockdown extended for two weeks after modelling showed potential surge

The roadmap is being announced after Victoria recorded 63 new COVID-19 cases and another five deaths over the past 24 hours.

Two of these deaths occurred prior to yesterday but were only just added to the numbers. They include one woman in her 80s, three women in their 90s, one woman in her 100s.

There are 98 cases in local regional government areas that are in stage three restrictions, down from more than 500 when restrictions were reimposed. Greater Geelong has 19 cases and Ballarat has two.

It takes the total number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the state to 666.

The cases come after 90, 113, 81 and 76 cases in the past four days. The last time the state recorded fewer than 68 cases was on June 28 when 45 cases were recorded.

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Mr Andrews released research by the government and its partners Melbourne University and the University of New England that modelled 1000 different scenarios and found Victoria was unlikely to have suppressed the virus by mid-September.

It found that if restrictions were eased when the average number of new daily cases was above 25 for a fortnight, there was a 60 per cent chance of returning to lockdown before Christmas. The average number of daily cases over the past week has been 84

On Saturday night, health authorities announced viral fragments of coronavirus had been detected in wastewater taken from a sewer network at Apollo Bay in south-western Victoria.

The findings prompted a warning from Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton for those living in Apollo Bay and nearby communities, who have even very mild symptoms of coronavirus, to get tested and isolate while they wait for their results.

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Professor Sutton said while the preliminary result may not mean there are currently active cases of COVID-19 in the Apollo Bay community, the Department of Health and Human Services has stepped up testing.

He stressed while the result may not signify any current cases and could represent virus shed from people who had travelled through the coastal from neighbouring areas, it has provided an opportunity to increase testing and minimise potential transmission.

“Until we have a highly effective and available vaccine, early detection and prevention are the keys to combating coronavirus,” Professor Sutton said.

“Wastewater testing provides an additional and complementary tool to the existing public health response and can provide early warning that coronavirus is in a community before traditional testing methods.

“Finding cases early can help our disease detectives track the spread of the virus and implement strategies to minimise transmission preventing hotspots or clusters before they have time to develop.”

The department is analysing sewage for fragments of coronavirus at sites across Victoria as part of a national research program.

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