Victoria records 51,356 new Covid-19 cases including RAT results

Victoria’s case numbers have shot up overnight now that the state can record positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) results.

An online system went live yesterday allowing people to log their positive status with the government.

51,356 new cases have been reported in the state this morning, up 30,000 on yesterday’s figure.

Over half of those are believed to have been RAT tests.

Nine more people have passed away as a result of Covid-19.

In New South Wales, there was a further 45,098 cases overnight. Those results will still just be from PCR tests carried out at testing clinics.

Nine people passed away from Covid-19 overnight as well.

Hospitalisations have crept up to 1,795, with 145 people in the ICU and 40 people requiring a ventilator.

In Victoria, 731 people are in hospital, 109 in the ICU and 22 on ventilators.

Queensland is yet to reveal their figures, but is expected to launch it’s own RAT reporting system today.

Man arrested over disappearance of Victorian campers

Police have made a major breakthrough in the investigation of missing Victorian campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.

A man has been taken into custody almost two years after the pair vanished while camping in remote Wonnangatta Valley.

The duo, aged in their 70s, last made contact with friends on the night of March 20, 2020.

The following day, the couple’s campsite was found burnt-out and there’s been no trace of the pair ever since.

Victorian Police confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that they had arrested a man over their disappearance.

“Detectives from the Missing Persons Squad have arrested a man as part of the investigation into missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay,” police said.

“The 55-year-old Caroline Springs man was arrested about 5.30pm yesterday and will be interviewed by police this morning.

“The investigation into the matter remains ongoing.”

Fire

Arson detectives probe house fire after four children killed

Four children aged just one, three, six and ten, have been killed in a horror house fire in Melbourne’s southwest.

Emergency crews were called to the property along Mantello Drive in Werribee around 1.00am this morning, following reports a home had been engulfed in flames.

It took 40 firefighters around one hour to bring the blaze under control.

Authorities initially feared the four children were missing, but confirmed a short time ago that the youngsters sadly perished in the blaze.

Detectives would not be drawn on whether or not the fire is suspicious, however, Arson Squad detectives have been called in to investigate.

A man and woman, believed to be the parents, and an 8-year-old boy managed to escape.

The man has been taken to hospital with smoke-related serious injuries, while the woman is in hospital being treated for smoke inhalation.

The young boy has also been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

More to come.

Vic’s deadliest day in COVID-19 third wave

Twenty-five Victorians have died with COVID-19, a toll record in the state’s third wave, prompting Premier Daniel Andrews to warn the outbreak is not over.

Victoria also recorded 1923 new local infections on Wednesday and the death toll from the current outbreak has risen to 272.

Mr Andrews said the “significant number” of deaths showed the pandemic “is not over”.

“For people of all ages, all backgrounds, all circumstances, this can be deadly. The greatest protection against that is to get vaccinated,” he told reporters on Thursday morning.

He said more detail on the deaths would be revealed at the daily COVID-19 update later on Thursday.

There are 746 people in hospital, with the seven-day average at 780. Of those, 137 are in intensive care with 85 on a ventilator.

The state is managing 22,189 active infections.

About 77 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated after 22,189 doses were administered at state-run hubs on Wednesday, while 82,648 tests were processed.

The latest figures come as health authorities warn there’s a high risk of thunderstorm asthma in the state’s southwest, Wimmera and Mallee districts, while Melbourne may be moderately affected.

The combination of high grass pollen levels, severe thunderstorms and strong winds on Thursday meant a “large number of people” may develop asthma symptoms quickly, the health department said.

Mr Andrews urged Victorians with asthma to be careful and follow their health plans, as he said there was already pressure on the health system due to COVID-19.

“There’s pressure across the board because we do have many more people in hospital with this wildly contagious virus. That’s going to be with us for a while,” he said.

“Let’s not put more pressure on those people than they’re already dealing with.”

Those at risk are being advised to avoid being outdoors during storms and the winds that precede them, and remember to take preventive medication.

A thunderstorm asthma event in 2016 killed nine people and resulted in thousands more being hospitalised.

Meanwhile, half a million people are being urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as statewide restrictions are set to ease once again.

From 6pm Friday, people in metropolitan Melbourne will be allowed to travel to the regions and interstate, masks will not be required outdoors and non-essential retail stores will be able to open.

But about 500,000 Victorians have yet to receive their first vaccine dose, with only 83 per cent of people aged in their 20s getting a first jab.

© AAP 2021

Vic has 1461 COVID-19 cases, seven deaths

Victoria has recorded 1461 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths as unvaccinated residents have been warned they could be locked out of venues until 2023.

The health department confirmed on Monday the state is managing just less than 25,000 active cases.

There are 802 people in hospital, keeping the seven-day average at 793. Of those, 152 are in intensive care and 92 on a ventilator.

The latest deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 230.

There were 56,905 tests processed and 27,859 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Sunday.

About 74 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated.

The latest figures come after the Victorian government announced almost all COVID-19 restrictions will end next month once 90 per cent of the 12-plus population are fully vaccinated.

At that point, all venue caps and density quotients will be scrapped along with mandatory indoor mask rules except in high-risk or low-vaccinated settings such as hospitals and schools.

Limits on home and outdoor gatherings will be shelved, while double-dose vaccination entry requirements expand to patrons of non-essential retail stores.

Premier Daniel Andrews flagged the lockout of unvaccinated Victorians from basic services could last “for the entirety of 2022”.

“If you’re not vaccinated, you’re not getting in,” he told reporters on Sunday.

With Victoria set to hit its 80 per cent full vaccination target sometime next weekend, restrictions will ease further and align across the state from 6pm on Friday.

The ban on travel between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be scrapped, reconnecting the state for the first time since the city’s 77-day lockdown lifted.

Masks will no longer need to be worn outdoors, entertainment venues, gyms and retail stores can reopen indoors for fully vaccinated patrons, and capacity limits will increase for restaurants, pubs and cafes.

Students from every year level across the state also return to classrooms full-time on November 1, four days ahead of schedule, before Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup public holiday.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the easing of restrictions was too slow and not in line with national cabinet’s plan.

“What the government says applies at 90 per cent should apply at 80 per cent,” he said.

© AAP 2021