Victoria records decline in new COVID cases, another 20 lives lost

The state of Victoria has reported 16,016 new daily COVID-19 cases, 120 in ICU and 1,029 in hospital, 120 in ICU and 39 on ventilation.

While the rate of new daily cases has dropped by almost 2,000 from the day before, the state sadly lost another 20 lives – the same figure from the previous day.

Watch the video above to learn about the recently approved COVID jab

The state has a three-dose vaccination rate of 29 per cent and double-dose of 93 per cent. Of the new cases recorded, 8,432 were reported via PCR with the remaining 7,584 reported via RATs.

“We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday,” the Victorian Department of Health said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with those in hospital, and the families of people who have lost their lives.”

On Friday, the state recorded 18,167 new cases, with 10,023 being reported via PCR and the remaining 8,144 reported via RAT.

The ICU rate has dropped slightly with one fewer person needing intensive care from Friday’s 121 figure. However, the number of victims on ventilation has risen from 34 to 39.

Booster vaccine blitz

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Credit: LUIS ASCUI/AAPIMAGE

On Friday, it was announced Victorians could get their COVID-19 booster shot sooner, with the government shortening the interval between second and third doses to three months at all state hubs.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the change, effective immediately, on Wednesday.

Some 60,000 additional appointments will be available as part of a four-day “booster blitz” beginning on Friday at eight of the state-run vaccination hubs.

There will be free ice creams and bottles of water at major clinics with the temperature set to 33C in Melbourne over the weekend.

A ‘code brown’ declaration for Victoria’s hospital system came into effect at midday on Wednesday.
A ‘code brown’ declaration for Victoria’s hospital system came into effect at midday on Wednesday. Credit: LUIS ASCUI/AAPIMAGE

Hours at major hubs including Bendigo, La Trobe University and Sandown have been extended specifically for the blitz, while more than 100 GPs and pharmacies across the state will receive grants to provide additional appointments at the weekend.

Mr Andrews flagged the possibility the booster would soon become mandatory for a person to be considered fully vaccinated, noting a mandate was imposed for several essential industries last week.

Victoria orders 166 million more RATs

Premier Daniel Andrews says the Victorian government has ordered another 166 million rapid antigen tests, on top of its initial order of 44 million.

The distribution of free RATs is hoped to reduce the pressure on the overwhelmed PCR testing system and allow results to be returned within 24 hours.

Around 7.5 million government-ordered rapid tests have arrived in Victoria over the past week.

More than 2.2 million are being distributed to health workers, staff in sensitive settings and vulnerable communities this week.

A file photo of a healthcare worker filling a syringe
Victorians can now get their COVID-19 booster three months after their second vaccine dose. Credit: AAP

Mr Andrews said it would take some time to receive the entire order, but said it was a long term plan to add to current stockpiles.

“We think 210 million, plus what we already had at the beginning, is enough to get us through for a number of months,” he said.

“But I think you’re going to see us continuing to order for a long time and we’re also working on whether we can manufacture and boost some of the local manufacturing already happening.”

How the tests will be distributed is yet to be announced.

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