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Victorian shoppers warned to limit supermarket outings as state records 190 new COVID-19 cases

Despite that figure being slightly lower than Friday’s 208 cases, Professor Sutton said he fully expected case numbers to keep increasing.

“The trend over a seven-day period has been incrementally increasing, I expect that to happen until we can get much higher vaccination coverage,” he said.

Professor Sutton said there was “every possibility” that Victoria would follow the “slow and steady increase” seen in NSW but stressed that the worst NSW daily caseloads could be avoided, if people kept coming forward to vaccination.

“We’ve got the option of being one week behind Sydney or six weeks behind Sydney. That does depend on doing the right thing it does depend on the vaccination coverage,” he said.

“I think it’s entirely possible that we can plateau… we’ve got a real opportunity to get to a higher vaccination coverage level with a relatively lower caseload [than NSW].”

More than 100 of Saturday’s cases were linked. Health authorities are investigating the acquisition source for the remaining 87.

Victoria records 190 new local cases

  • 96 cases were recorded in the northern suburbs
  • 55 in the western suburbs
  • 14 in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs
  • 11 in Melbourne’s inner south
  • Six in the city of Melbourne
  • Three in the eastern suburbs
  • One on the Mornington Peninsula
  • Four in Shepparton

SOURCE: Victorian CHO Professor Brett Sutton

Of the state’s 1301 active coronavirus cases, 205 are children aged under nine. Another 213 are aged between 10 and 19, 316 are in their 20s, and 224 are in their 30s.

The number of cases linked to the Panorama construction office in Box Hill jumped by 38 cases on Saturday to 58 in total.

Among Saturday’s new cases was a fully vaccinated staff member at Japara Bayview Aged Care Home at Carrum Downs. Only 62 per cent of staff members at the facility are fully vaccinated, while 82 per cent have received one dose.

Professor Sutton said he wanted aged care facilities to have a “much higher rate” than that.

“We’re moving to mandating vaccination for aged care staff,” he said. “But for anyone who’s holding out for that mandate come through when they can get protection now — for themselves but as, as has been illustrated for the residents that they’ve got care responsibilities for — they should absolutely do so.“

No new cases were recorded in the state’s hotel quarantine. Saturday’s cases were reported from nearly 49,550 COVID-19 tests.

The Department of Health did not specify how many of the cases were in isolation throughout their entire infectious period.

New $2.3b support package for Victorian businesses

On Saturday, Jobs Minister Martin Pakula announced a $2.3 billion business support package for 175,000 Victorian businesses affected by the COVID-19 lockdown extension.

The support package, jointly funded by the state and Commonwealth government, will be spread across various programs, with $289 million going to the licensed hospitality venue fund in the form of grants up to $20,000.

The small business COVID hardship fund is getting an additional $448 million added to it, and the grant amount under that fund will increase from $14,000 to 20,000. The number of businesses supported by that fund will also increase from 18,000 to 35,000.

Under that scheme, businesses generally get a grant of $2800 per week.

‘We’ve held a tsunami of cases back for 20 months’: Sutton

Professor Brett Sutton said he believed it was possible the state’s case numbers could plateau with high vaccination coverage and a relatively low COVID-19 caseload.

“There is really only one way to protect yourself, and that’s following the rules,” he said.

“There’s no question that it’s hard, [however], the alternative is too awful to contemplate.”

“Tens of thousands of cases could be our reality if we don’t maintain … those really tricky constraints on our life, [and] that’s just the awful dilemma that we’ve had right through.

“We’ve held a tsunami of cases back for 20 months. It’s come to us in waves, we’ve beaten it back in waves [and] we’ve got maybe the biggest challenge that we’ve ever faced.

“We’ve held a tsunami of cases back for 20 months. It’s come to us in waves, we’ve beaten it back in waves … we’ve got maybe the biggest challenge that we’ve ever faced.”

Professor Brett Sutton

“But we’ve also got a proper pathway out of here with vaccination, so hold the line in these last weeks and months until we get the high vaccination coverage that means that we can have greater confidence about seeing people … initially outdoors, initially in those ventilated settings, and in smaller numbers, but we will get there.”

Boys’ school first in Victoria to mandate vaccinations for staff

Catholic boys’ school Xavier College has told staff they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of term four, in what is believed to be the first move by a Victorian school to mandate the jab for its staff.

Xavier principal William Doherty told staff “a duty of care inevitably exists” for those who work closely with children to be vaccinated and said that families and colleagues “should be able to expect every precaution to protect their health and safety”.

Exemptions to the vaccination mandate would only be granted in the most exceptional circumstances, he said.

Professor Sutton on Saturday said he expected to see more schools to follow suit.

The state’s year 12 students are being prioritised to get their COVID-19 jabs in a vaccination “blitz”, from September 7 through to 17, with bookings to open on Monday.

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