COVID-19

Victorian hospitals hit with Covid surge

The number of people in hospital with Covid has hit 502, the highest number of patients since February 11 this year. It comes as further cases of a new Omicron sub-variant have been detected in Melbourne, with the BA.2.12.1 and the BA.4 or BA.5 sub-variants being reported in wastewater samples on Friday.Two detections of the BA.2.12.1 have been found in the Melbourne Airport water catchment and from a catchment that services Melbourne’s northeast. Another two of the same variant has been found in the southeast Melbourne catchment. The Department of Health has reported that the BA.4 or BA.5 strain has been detected twice more in catchments servicing the inner southern suburbs and northeast Donvale. Authorities will continue to analyse PCR samples from the wastewater to better understand the strength and transmission of these strains.Associate Professor Stuart Turville, from Immunovirology and Pathogenesis Program at the Kirby Institute from the University of New South Wales, said the new variants were examples of “small changes in the right place”.He told the Australian Science Media Centre these new Omicron variants, are descended from BA2 Omicron — referred to as “stealth omicron”.Both BA1 and BA2 Omicron were noticeable for their ability to “significantly evade a previous antibody response (through past infection and/or vaccine generated)”.There are 502 patients in Victorian hospitals with Covid – with 27 active cases in ICU, including eight on a ventilator, and an additional four cleared cases in ICU.Nine deaths were recorded on Friday of people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, bring the total number of deaths to 3021 since the pandemic began.

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