THE total number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria is 1158, an increase of 23 from yesterday as testing for the virus expands.
Yesterday a man in his 50s died in hospital and a woman in her 80s died at home, taking the number of people who have died in Victoria from coronavirus to 10.
The total number of cases includes 608 men and 550 women, cases range in age from babies to their early nineties.
There are 88 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission.
More than 57,000 tests have been conducted to date.
Currently 45 people are in hospital – including 11 patients in intensive care – and 620 people have recovered.
Of the total 1158 cases, there have been 940 in Melbourne and 212 in regional Victoria.
A number of cases remain under investigation.
Victoria’s testing criteria for COVID-19 have been broadened to include people whose employment and contact with the broader public may place them at higher risk of exposure to any virus which maybe circulating in the community.
If someone in the following categories displays clinical symptoms – a fever or acute respiratory infection – they will now be tested for COVID-19.
Childcare and early childhood education;
Primary or secondary schools;
Firefighters who are emergency medical responders;
People aged 65 years and older.
The full testing criteria list is available at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/news-and-events/healthalerts/2019-Coronavirus-disease–COVID-19.
Victoria’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said the changes are aimed at striking a balance between identifying cases that are not linked to known travel or other risks and maintaining current suppression efforts targeted at returned travellers and contacts of current cases.
“The number of community acquired cases contracted from an unknown source are continuing to rise – the expansion of the testing criteria will allow us to get a clearer picture of how much the virus is circulating,” Professor Sutton said.
“These new criteria do not mean our stage 3 restrictions should be relaxed.
The reverse is true, we must continue these actions to flatten the curve.”
Our contact tracing of all known cases will continue so that anyone who has been exposed to a confirmed case completes the mandatory 14 days in self-isolation.
There are only four reasons for Victorians to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care and care giving, exercise, and work or education.
All people arriving from any international destination must also self-isolate for 14 days as per Commonwealth Government direction.
All travellers returning from overseas to Victoria will be placed in enforced quarantine for the self-isolation period of 14 days.
Police have strong powers to enforce these directions and can issue on the spot fines, including up to $1652 for individuals and up to $9913 for businesses.
Under the State of Emergency people who don’t comply could also be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20,000.
Companies face fines of up to $100,000.
“Social distancing will save lives,” Professor Sutton said.
“Everyone needs to comply with restrictions in place to keep yourself, your loved ones and the whole community safe.
“Our message is clear: if you can stay home, you must stay home.”
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19, which is 1800 675 398.
Large numbers of calls can result in some delays and we ask Victorians for their patience as we work to manage the volume.
Further information is also available at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.