Victoria reached another grim new record on Friday, with the state confirming 208 new Covid-19 cases.
The spike in infection came after Premier Daniel Andrews warning earlier this week that Victorians “will not see these case numbers go down”.
This is the biggest spike in infections the state has seen during this latest outbreak.
The state also recorded one new death.
Of the new cases, 96 were linked to known cases and outbreaks and the source of 112 are still under investigation
Victoria following 'similar pattern' to NSW
Chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, Professor Catherine Bennett, said Victoria’s outbreak is showing similarities to the way NSW’s situation unfolded.
With another rise in cases today, Professor Bennett said the state can expect cases to continue to climb by about 20 per cent every few days.
“The overall trend is definitely one where we are seeing a similar pattern, with the reproductive number held around 1.2 or 1.3,” she told Sunrise.
“It still means a 20 per cent climb every four or five days, so we have to be mindful, the overall numbers will trend up, and that is why it’s so important we get the vaccinations happening as soon as possible, because that is what will help push the reproductive number down and stop this inevitable climb.
“As numbers get bigger, the jump gets bigger, but you’ll still see bigger jumps like yesterday. But we’ve got to manage this so it doesn’t keep rising at the same rate, because exponential growth means daily jumps look bigger.”
Cases set to spike again
Early unconfirmed reports suggest Victoria could see cases top 200 today, following warnings yesterday that infections may be spreading undetected across Melbourne.
It comes after more than 20 Melbourne suburbs were put on high alert yesterday after virus fragments were found in wastewater.
Acting chief health officer Professor Ben Cowie said the widening geographic spread of the virus proved how crucial it was to slow the virus down until vaccination rates increase.
“There is not one corner of metropolitan Melbourne that is not touched by this virus. We have been seeing and continue to see high case numbers in the suburbs to the north and west of Melbourne,” he said.
“But as the Minister just highlighted, today we saw significant increase in suburbs throughout the south and east of Melbourne as well.”
Beachgoers defy lockdown orders on horror day
Hundreds of people packed Melbourne’s beaches on Thursday, with many seen defying lockdown restrictions despite the state recording it’s worst day of the outbreak so far.
The warm weather saw crowds descend on Elwood Beach, with groups seen drinking alcohol on the sand and dancing as they played music through portable speakers, The Herald Sun reports.
Many of the beachgoers were also seen not wearing masks as they relaxed on the sand, while others were seen having picnics at the nearby park.
Under Victoria’s current lockdown restrictions, residents can only leave their homes to shop for necessary goods and services, caregiving and compassionate needs, authorised work or permitted education, exercise for two hours a day or to get a Covid-19 vaccination.
Exercise is only permitted with one other person, plus dependants and residents must stay within 5km of their home.
Face masks must also been worn indoors and outdoors whenever a person leaves home, though can be removed in a public place when consuming food, medicine or non-alcoholic drinks.
Big crowds were also seen at St Kilda, where a larger police presence meant officers were cracking down on rule-breakers.
This was the same day Victoria confirmed it’s biggest infection spike in more than a year, with 176 new Covid cases on Thursday.
Workplaces, households driving spike in cases
Transmission in workplaces and households are the main drivers behind Victoria’s surge in Covid-19 cases.
Acting chief health officer Professor Ben Cowie said this didn’t necessarily mean people in these settings were doing the wrong thing, it was just easier for the virus to spread, especially with such a large number of active cases in the community.
“There is transmission in the community, transmission in workplaces. We need to work with workplaces to ensure every Covid safe guideline is being applied. It is critical to work from home if you can do that, and only authorised workers should be out,” he said.
“We also note there is significant community transmission between households. we get that we are all desperate to see extended family, but right now that is the worst thing we can do. The last thing anyone wants to see or think is that they have put their loved ones at risk. That’s a horrible thing for someone to reflect on.
“It is challenging – can I acknowledge that seeing these kinds of numbers is challenging for everyone and adds the exhaustion we feel. But, if not for everything we have done, we wouldn’t be talking about cases in hundreds, we’d be talking about cases in their thousands.”
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