Victoria has set yet another record for daily Covid-19 case numbers, reporting 1,965 new locally acquired cases and five deaths as the state removed its requirement for secondary close contacts to isolate.
One woman and four men were among the dead. There are now 578 people in hospital with the virus, 117 people in intensive care and 83 in ventilators.
It comes as authorities expressed concern over rising numbers of cases in Mildura, on the border with New South Wales. Twenty cases were reported in the city on Friday, triggering a lockdown that night.
The health department’s deputy secretary, Kate Matson, said authorities were “particularly concerned” about the case numbers there.
“We believe there may be additional cases out there that we have not found,” she said. “Cases are spread across a number of households and there are connections to NSW. The total number of active cases in Mildura is now 37, up from a case a week ago.
“The next seven days will be crucial for us to have a really strict public health response.”
Matson also announced a change to the isolation rules. Secondary contacts no longer need to isolate, freeing 16,000 people from quarantine.
“There is a very important difference between someone who is known to have been in contact with a confirmed case and then someone who has come in contact with the primary close contact,” she said. “The risk is different.
“So this just recognizes the changed risk and the changed environment we are in. We are no longer chasing Covid zero in Victoria and we have 17,000 active cases in Victoria at this time.”
Health authorities also confirmed that a covid-positive flight crew member traveled to three states while contagious. The maiden’s cabin crew member worked on six flights between Victoria, NSW and South Australia while it was contagious.
“Passengers on these flights are contacted by the relevant jurisdictions and we have been in close contact with both NSW and South Australia and worked closely with them to contract for relevant passengers,” Matson said.
Victorian assistant treasurer Danny Pearson announced that the state government would provide $ 15 million. In tailor-made support for the Victorian arts and creative sector, with $ 10 million. Aimed at small to medium-sized organizations and $ 5 million. For individual artists.
NSW registered 580 new locally acquired cases and 11 deaths on Saturday, amid ongoing investigations into a new strain of Delta that has been discovered in Sydney.
The head of state health, Dr. Kerry Chant, said there was no evidence that the new strain was more dangerous or transmissible than the Delta strain.
“We have discovered a genome of the Delta strain that is different from the one that previously transmitted in our community,” she said.
“We have linked it back to a person who returned from abroad, but the exact mechanism by which that tribe originated and entered the community of western Sydney is still under investigation, so we will update you when these investigations continues.
“But I want to assure you that there is nothing about this Delta tribe … that suggested it could be transmitted more, cause illness or other problems beyond the current Delta tribe. So essentially, it’s another Delta tribe circulating in the community. ”
NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet warned that the number of cases is expected to rise as the state gears up to come out of the lockdown on Monday.
“We know that when we open the number of cases, it will increase,” Perrottet told reporters. “But what has been key to keeping people safe is our high vaccination rate. We have the highest vaccination rate in the country. I know there is a sense of excitement … I just ask people over the weekend, follow the applicable rules. ”
Perrottet denied that he has excluded health officials in his decision-making after revealing changes to the state’s roadmap earlier in the week without Chant present.
“Different advice and different opinions have always been given,” he said. I ”saw a statement the other day about the 7.30 report that said the opposite from a leading doctor who said that the changes we have made to bring the roadmap forward are modest and will ensure that we keep people safe when we open up.
“This is a balance and it is the approach that the NSW Government has taken successfully over the last 18 months. We listened to the health advice. We listened to the financial advice. We also listened to the advice on mental health. ”
NSW was expected to cross the 90% dose for the first dose on Saturday, with the state having passed the 70% dose dose mark earlier in the week.
The ACT also registered 25 new locally acquired Covid cases, with Prime Minister Andrew Barr saying most of the cases were still under investigation.
The area now also has 97.1% of its 12-plus population, who had received the first dose of a vaccine, one of the highest in the world.