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COVID-positive Victorians to receive text before call as pressure mounts on contact-tracing system

Mr Foley said there were now 207 people in hospital with the virus: 87 per cent were not vaccinated at all while the remainder were partially vaccinated.

But in good news, there was another record number of vaccines delivered through the state-run vaccination centres yesterday, where there were more than 45,500 jabs administered.

It takes Victoria past the 70 per cent mark for the population aged 16 and over, who have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

Victoria recorded 535 locally acquired cases of COVID on Saturday, the highest number since near the peak of the state’s second wave in August last year.

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Of the new cases recorded in the 24 hours to midnight on Friday, 62 have so far been linked to known clusters, according to Victoria’s health department.

More than 45,537 vaccine doses were administered in Victoria on Friday and an impressive 61,622 tests were processed.

The northern suburbs of Melbourne continued to report the highest number of infections, but there was spread throughout the state, and new cases in the regions pose a concern to authorities.

Department of Health deputy secretary Kate Matson said there were 15 cases in regional Victoria including:

  • Four cases in Geelong, three posing particular concern as they are so far unlinked
  • Two cases in Ballarat, household contacts of previous cases
  • One case in the Moorabool Shire, which could be linked to the cases in Ballarat
  • Five cases in the Mitchell Shire, linked back to Melbourne

The northern suburbs have reported 295 new cases, but at 55 per cent of the total cases, this is a lower proportion of cases overall that’s been reported at other times in the outbreak.

There have been another 183 cases reported in the western suburbs, including Hoppers Crossing and Truganina.

From Saturday, fully vaccinated Melburnians can meet up outdoors with one other household in groups of up to five adults plus dependents. The five-kilometre restriction on movement from the home has also been widened to 10 kilometres.

Outdoor gyms and skate parks have also been reopened, with Melburnians now allowed to exercise for four hours per day, instead of two.

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Mr Foley dropped some small clues about what the state’s road map for reopening could look like – due to be unveiled on Sunday – confirming that case numbers, not just vaccination rates, will play a role.

“It’s all in the mix together,” he said. “The measures will be safe, they will be achievable and they will be in line with the national cabinet plan.”

Modelling that the Victorian Government is using to prepare hospitals for increased demand estimates that by mid next month the state will have 18,000 active COVID-19 cases and there will be 800 people in hospital, quadruple the current numbers.

“Every indication we’ve had from the people that do the epidemiological assessments is that case numbers will continue to rise,” said Mr Foley.

He said the reproduction factor of the outbreak had decreased slightly this week to around 1.3 to 1.4 but needed to come down below 1 if numbers were to turn around.

“It will continue to head down by making sure all Victorians follow the rules … and get vaccinated.“

Two new tier-1 venues were added on Friday night to the health department’s swelling list of exposure sites in Daylesford, in central Victoria, and Kilsyth, in Melbourne’s east.

Anyone who visited the Lake House Hotel in Daylesford from 1.15pm on September 11 until 1.45am on September 12 is being asked to get tested and isolate for 14 days.

The same applies for anyone who was at the Gladesville Primary School in Kilsyth from 7am to 9.30am on September 7 and 2.30pm to 6.30pm on September 10.

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