COVID-19

Half of Vic’s Covid cases going unreported

A total of 10,898 new Covid cases were recorded on Thursday, including 7,973 Victorians who tested positive on a rapid antigen test and 2,925 who returned a positive result on a PCR test.There are now 68,463 active cases in Victoria and 813 people in hospital – with 26 active cases in ICU, including 10 on a ventilator.Professor Brett Sutton urged Victorians to continue to take “collective responsibility” to reduce transmission of the virus and wear masks when and where they could.Two new Covid deaths were also reported to the Health Department on Thursday, which occurred over the past three days. “Due to data feed issues this month, sadly, 105 additional deaths have also been added to the state and daily total. All of these deaths occurred since July 1,” he said.“These total 107 deaths were of people aged in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s. The data feed issue was caused by a delay in a third-party reporting deaths to the Department of Health.”The number of daily deaths in Victoria over the past fortnight remained relatively stable, with an average of 19 deaths a day, Prof Sutton said.“It doesn’t matter that they’re historical deaths, these are people whose lives have been lost, and families are grieving,” Prof Sutton said.He said Covid case numbers, which have been hovering at around 10,000 per day, were soon expected to fall.“We’re probably at the peak of the wave right now, I expect we’ll see a flattening of numbers and decrease in coming days,” he said.“Hospitalisation numbers will probably plateau in the next week or two.“I think we’re probably capturing around half (of cases) but it is difficult to know.”He said his advice to the Health Minister remained that a mask mandate should be considered, but denied he had been sidelined by the government.“That’s still public health advice but that’s one of the inputs in final decision making on pandemic orders,” he said.“We have a collective responsibility to be wearing masks as much as we can indoors in shared air, and outdoors when we can’t physically distance.“(Chief health officers) are all saying the same thing – they will put downwards pressure on transmission.”There was no guarantee that the introduction of a mask mandate would increase compliance, Prof Sutton said.“What the social behavioural response will be to a mandate versus really strong messaging is hard to predict,” he said.The CHO urged Victorians, particularly those over the age of 70, to get their fourth vaccine dose as soon as possible.“If you’re due for a fourth dose please get it … the fourth dose reduces your risk of being hospitalised and dying by three quarters,” he said.CONCERN AS MONKEYPOX VACCINE IN SHORT SUPPLYThe “explosion” of Monkeypox overseas will pose an ongoing challenge to Victorians, the chief health officer says.Professor Brett Sutton said there was a significant risk of importation of the disease as it spreads rapidly through Europe and the United States.“We’ll need to do our best with isolation of cases and to follow up close contacts,” Prof Sutton said.The CHO emphasised that the disease did not pose as much of a threat as Covid.“It is transmitted through skin-to-skin or close, intimate contact,” he said.“We’re all vulnerable in one way or another.“We need to explore getting vaccines, but supply is a challenge internationally at the moment.”

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