More than 300 Australians have now lost their lives to COVID-19 as Victoria reports 19 deaths overnight and 322 new cases of the virus.
Of those 19 Victorians who succumbed to the virus in the past 24 hours, one is a male in his 50s, one a female in her 60s, tow males in their 70s, one male and six females in the 80s, one male and seven females in their 90s. Fourteen of the 19 death are linked to aged care facilities.
The news comes as the premier announced a series of new TV and Social media advertisements which would blitz all platforms from today. The new campaign clearly shows citizens the impact coronavirus has on real-life patients.
“This is about trying to tell a story to as many Victorians as possible that this virus does not, in any way, discriminate between people based on their age, based on their otherwise healthy status — so many people who have become positive and had very bad experiences were otherwise healthy and were younger,” Andrews said.
Andrews took time out to thank the millions of Victorians currently doing the right thing: staying home and coming forward to get tested. He again stressed it is vitally important for people to get tested no matter how mild their symptoms and for Victorians to limit their movements as much as possible.
“But if we don’t follow these rules – if we don’t all make our own contribution to limiting movement – then we will not drive down these case numbers to an acceptable level that will allow us to reopen.
“I want businesses to survive. I want people back at work. I want people healthy. I want to begin that process of rebuilding our economy and community and setting us up for strength in the future. We simply can’t get to that point unless we all play our part in making this strategy work,” he said.
In order to ensure every Victorian has the opportunity to be tested, health minister Jenny Mikakos announced there will be expanded facilities to allow vulnerable people more access to testing
“We know that, for some vulnerable people who might be housebound due to disability or other chronic health conditions, it is challenging for them to be able to present to a testing station,” she said.
The VIC government’s new call-to-test program will enable someone to call the coronavirus hotline, be assessed by a nurse through the hotline and, with a GP referral, have a home visit from a tester.
“We will go to people’s homes and we will ensure that they will be able to be tested within a 48-hour period. This is designed to ensure that approximately 200 vulnerable Victorians every day will have access to this new testing capacity, making sure that people who might have limited mobility due to disability or might have other vulnerabilities due to chronic health conditions can get tested in their own home.”
If you are a vulnerable Victorian and require home testing, you can contact the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 and after assessment will be able to request a visit from a health care professional to complete your test in your home.
Following reports that the state may not have enough PPE equipment to cope with the health crisis, the premier assured reporters there are substantial reserves of masks and that new orders of PPE including gowns and gloves have been approved including some 68 million gloves, 19 million surgical masks and 2 million face shields.
“That was not just because we’ve got more patients in the hospital, and that’s presenting us, obviously, with a bigger challenge than it was two or three weeks ago, but it’s also a function of some of the changes we’ve made to continue some high-risk workplaces because of essential food supply, for instance, but at dramatically reduced levels. They need extra PPE, and we wanted to make sure that that wasn’t the difference between them complying.”
Meanwhile, in NSW, the state has reported 14 new cases of coronavirus overnight – several of which are linked to school clusters. NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant reports five of the 14 new cases are linked to Tangara School for Girls at Cherrybrook in Sydney’s north. While a second student from Our Lady of Mercy College at Parramatta has also contracted the virus. Tangara will now close until August 24 for cleaning and contact tracing. The total number of cases now linked to the school is nine.
The total number of cases in NSW is now 3,686. There were 19,920 tests conducted in NSW over the weekend, making it the biggest testing weekend to date.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said the citizens should be in a state of high alert as it was a critical time in the battle against the virus.
Berejiklian warned residents to not be complacent saying they should assume any person they come into contact with could potentially have the virus.
“We ask people to curtail their activity. We are in a state of high alert – we do not want to impose restrictions on people’s freedoms – but your actions can cause enormous harm to the community.”
Dr Chant urged residents of south western, western and north western Sydney to be particularly vigilant as there are cases of local acquisition that are not part of a cluster.
“We would like to see less large gatherings and less mixing in the community and for people to minimise movements during this critical phase of the response.”
North of the border, Queensland reported one new confirmed case and11 active cases as tough new border restrictions came into place over the weekend. Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski confirmed the state had processed close to 5000 people through the airport with 197 placed into quarantine and and six refused entry.
“On our roads, we saw 9,046 vehicles checked, 144 persons placed into quarantine and 506 people refused entry into the state.
Gollschewski also confirmed, for the most part, those forced to self-isolate were abiding by the rules.
“I mentioned last week that we’d done compliance checking of people in home-quarantine. It has continued. We have now checked 504 people and have seen 98.8 per cent compliance. There are four matters that remain under investigation out of those checks. And there have been two penalty infringement notices issued for people breaching quarantine.”
Finally, the prime minister Scott Morrison described the latest fatalities as devastating news but said he looks forward to better news as Victoria’s cases stabilise,
“I am more hopeful of that today than I was in the course of the past week over the briefings I have received over the course of the weekend and again this morning.”
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