The Department of Health did not specify how many of Friday’s new cases were in isolation for their entire infectious period, but said they would provide an update on the weekend.
Friday’s cases were recorded from more than 48,570 COVID-19 tests.
Victoria records 208 new local cases
- Two cases in Shepparton;
- Forty-eight in the western suburbs, including nine in Altona, four in Tarneit, and three in Truganina;
- One hundred and twenty-eight cases in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, including 14 Craigieburn, 12 in Dallas, eight in Roxburgh Park, 12 Broadmeadows, and nine in Glenroy;
- Thirteen cases in the eastern suburbs, including three new cases in Richmond, and two cases in Prahran; and
- Seventeen cases are in other LGAs.
One new case was recorded in the state’s hotel quarantine, and more than 33,500 people received their COVID-19 vaccine doses at state-run hubs on Thursday.
Friday’s figures were announced after playground restrictions eased and children under 12 were allowed to enter for the first time in weeks.
Children can only be accompanied by one parent or carer and adults must check-in to playgrounds using a QR code, and they should not remove their masks to eat or drink.
Also, as of 11.59pm on Thursday, in-home carers, such as babysitters, are allowed for school-aged children, as long as both their parents are authorised workers.
Authorities identify more exposure sites
Authorities identified several new exposure sites on Friday, including a tier-1 construction site at 35 Hancock Street in Southbank, and a tier-2 apartment complex in Collingwood.
Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said authorities had identified another construction site at Box Hill as the source of 20 cases of the virus. He said authorities were still testing a number of primary close contacts related to the site.
“That’s not an isolated case,” Mr Weimar said.
“Similarly, we have a distribution centre out in the west, where we found four cases – distribution centres that are critical to bringing the food and services on our shelves every day.”
Among other additions to the list was an inner-city fertility clinic, an early learning centre and an apartment complex at Coburg.
Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens was also declared a tier-2 site on Thursday.
There are currently close to 1000 Victorian venues, transport routes, residential buildings and other places listed as exposure sites.
Students to join COVID-19 vaccination workforce
Mr Andrews announced that a number of health professionals and students are being trained to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the state.
“It’s essentially, everybody who can do this safely needs to be part of that team as we grow and expand the total amount of vaccinations that we do,” he said.
He said among those people administering vaccines would be dentists, oral health therapists, hospital pharmacists, podiatrists, people in the nursing and midwifery workforce and paramedical students.
Unvaccinated over-60s told not to wait for Pfizer
Mr Andrews also urged people over 60 who are yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 not to wait for the Pfizer vaccine, but to book their AstraZeneca shot as soon as possible.
His comments echoed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s sentiment after he wrote to over-60s encouraging them to get vaccinated.
“People over 60 who are already eligible for a vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine – the Prime Minister has made clear that they will go into the queue behind those who are eligible and can only receive Pfizer,” Mr Andrews said.
“Don’t get in the queue if you’re over 60, don’t get in a queue that includes [people] right down to 12-year-olds.
That’s going to be a very long way, and we don’t have time to wait. We need to get as many doses into as many arms as possible.”
Mr Andrews said there were 50,000 AstraZeneca vaccination appointments available in the state.
Update for Victorians stranded in NSW
Mr Andrews has indicated the state will pilot a home quarantine program, and it may be the key to bringing residents stranded in NSW home.
Mr Andrews said technology would likely form a big part of the program and “there’s a lot of work been going on for literally months around which technology is best”.
“Particularly those who are in the border bubble already, one of the ways we’ll get them home is potentially home-based quarantine, with the use of technology coupled with testing,” he said.
Border bubble arrangements with NSW tighten
Authorities have also narrowed the definition of authorised workers who can enter Victoria.
From 6pm on Friday, those who do still make the list will also be subject to more rigorous COVID-19 testing – they will need to be tested within 72 hours of entering Victoria, as well as on days six, seven, or eight after they enter, and again on day 13 or 14.
Border bubble arrangements with NSW were tightened at 11.59pm on Thursday, with people no longer allowed to cross the border to go to physical recreation facilities.
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