Victoria records 177 new cases, Victorians cop $200k in fines in past 24-hours


The state’s coronavirus numbers have climbed by 177 cases overnight, while police dished out $219,716 in fines yesterday as some Victorians continue to breach lockdown restrictions.

Victoria has recorded 177 new coronavirus cases overnight.

25 of those cases are connected to contained outbreaks, 151 are under investigation nd one in hotel quarantine.

72 Victorians are in hospital with coronavirus, including 17 in intensive care.

There are currently 1612 active cases across the state.

The state’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said there are “four offive new outbreaks every day”.

The new cases bring pre-existing clusters to:

– Six cases at LaManna’s supermarket in Essendon;

– 12 cases at Somerville Village Meats;

– 26 cases at Menarock Aged Care in Essendon;

– 13 cases at Glendale Aged Care in Werribee;

– 144 cases at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina (28 in staff, 76 in students, 16 in close contacts, and a further 22 cases under investigation);

– Two cases at Japara Central Park Aged Care Home in Windsor;

– Eight cases at Riverina Apartments in Footscray.

Prof Sutton said some cases from the Menarock Aged Care outbreak had been taken to hospital.

“That’s a big outbreak, a number of staff and residents have been infected that that outbreak,” he said.

“That’s been intensively managed, including transfer of some residents to acute care.

“Again, aged care not surprisingly represented in outbreaks.

“The vast majority have involved one or sometimes two staff. And no residents. That’s a measure of staff identifying themselves as soon as they become unwell and very extensive testing of residents in lockdown.

“They’re critically vulnerable and we need to manage them as closely as we possibly can.”

The Premier thanked Victorians for their cooperation with the renewed lockdown.

“This is a clever enemy,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“This lockdown will continue as long as it needs to.

“If we all keep following those rules, then this strategy will work, we’ll bring it under control, we’ll be able to resume opening up, we’ll get past this very difficult set of circumstances we face.”

It comes as Mental Health Minister Martin Foley announced new targeted therapy to support young people struggling during the pandemic.

Orygen will launch a new online platform, called Moderated Online Social Therapy, which will allow for personalised support for young Victorians.

The Andrews Government has provided $6 million to fast-track the program.

It will be available first for those in Melbourne’s north and western suburbs.

The funding comes as part of a $59.4 million package for mental health services in Victoria, with demand for support services surging during the pandemic.

PARTYGOERS AMONG FINE RECIPIENTS

It comes as fines totalling more than $200,000 have been dished out over the past 24 hours for breaches of Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions.

Victoria Police issued 133 fines to individuals – totalling $219,716.

Among those fined were 31 people caught at forbidden “gatherings” at apartments across Melbourne’s CBD.

Thirteen people were caught at a gathering in Southbank, ten at a South Wharf apartment and eight people at an apartment in the Docklands.

Police also fined 22 people at vehicle checkpoints and five people who travelled from metropolitan Melbourne to Maribyrnong to go camping.

Almost 10, triple-0 vehicles were checked by police on main arterial roads in the 24-hour period.

Police also performed 2495 spot checks at homes, business and public places.

– Aneeka Simonis

‘DON’T STRESS’: EDUCATION MINISTER’S MESSAGE TO PARENTS

Parents should stop stressing about their childrens’ education because 2020 is being treated as a “different year”, according to Education Minister James Merlino.

About 700, triple-0 students in years prep to 10 at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to remote learning when term 3 starts next week.

Mr Merlino said parents need to stop worrying about how this disruption will impact their kids’ results.

“You don’t need to be the teacher of your child, you honestly don’t need to stress about your kid – they will be fine” he told KIIS FM.

“It’s a different year. Reports parents will receive for the first half of this year are different to the reports you’d normally get throughout the year.”

Mr Merlino acknowledged there will be “good days and bad days” during the period of remote learning but that it was an important step in the fight against coronavirus.

He said “no one wants to go back to remote flexible learning” but it was necessary to stop the spread of the virus.

“Outbreaks can happen anywhere … Schools are not alone in that sense. The risk is low, but the risk is not non-existent,” he told 3AW.

“You’ve got to balance the risks with the responses to it.”

Mr Merlino said every student who turned up to school today would be temperature-checked.

“If you’re not feeling well, don’t go to school,” he said.

He said elective surgeries will be ramped up to make sure people do not miss out on important treatments.

During the last lockdown, elective surgeries were put on hold to help hospitals deal with the virus.

Mr Merlino said: “You have to get the care you need and hospitals are there to provide that care. If it is like cancer or other serious conditions you have to get treatment and there are no delays for those sorts of things.”

“Please, please do not defer it.”

– Aneeka Simonis

VICTORIA TO RECEIVE MORE ADF SUPPORT

Daniel Andrews accepted further ADF assistance from the federal government on Sunday.

Scott Morrison said he had spoken extensively with the Premier and they had agreed for 1000 or more personnel to assist in Victoria.

“Over the weekend we offered further ADF support to the Victorian Government, up to 1000 people, as many as they need frankly, and that’s being rolled across,” the Prime Minister said on Monday.

“The Premier accepted that yesterday.

“Everyone is working together.

“There is a big logical effort.”

Mr Morrison said Australians should brace for further big rises in confirmed cases in coming days.

“We would be expecting some continued case numbers at those elevated levels for some time yet,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s just important that when people are identified as having the virus that they isolate immediately.”

Mr Andrews accepted the help on Sunday after Mr Morrison wrote to him on Saturday.

The additional defence personnel will assist with whatever Victorian authorities decide they most need help with, a decision expected to be made on Monday.

The 1000 or so defence personnel would bolster the already deployed 260 ADF staff already helping in Victoria, according to federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

The Treasurer said it was a big logistical task, with state and federal authorities working closely together to bring the second wave under control

“It is important that we stay strong in the days and the weeks ahead,” Mr Frydenberg said in Melbourne on Monday.

“We always knew the pathway to economic recovery would be tough.

“We always knew that there was this threat of a second wave of cases, as we’ve seen around the rest of the world, but by working together we will get through this.

“Victorians will get through this and they will do so with the support of their federal government.”

– Tamsin Rose

TEXT ‘ERROR’ TOLD CLOSE CONTACTS TO LEAVE QUARANTINE EARLY

Authorities have sent Victorians in self-quarantine text messages mistakenly saying they were free to leave ­isolation before their 14-day period ended.

The Department of Health and Human Services was unaware on Sunday night of how many people had received the wrong advice as a result of a “data entry error”.

The messages, sent on Sunday morning, told some Victorians in strict two-week isolation they were “no longer in quarantine”, several days ahead of their actual end date.

It included one Melbourne woman who was in self-­quarantine with her daughter after her partner tested positive to coronavirus only on Wednesday.

Camera IconVictoria market shoppers during the second COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne. Credit: News Corp Australia, David Crosling

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she had been repeatedly contacted by DHHS workers via phone calls, text messages and emails during their isolation period, reminding her to adhere to the strict quarantine rules.

One such email came on Sunday morning, but just 20 minutes later she received a text saying unless she was awaiting test results or had been re-exposed, she was no longer in quarantine.

“Straight away I thought, this is a mistake, something has gone wrong here,” she said.

Her daughter did not receive the misfired text.

The woman called the DHHS hotline and was told some messages had been sent in error and to ignore the latest message and instead follow the original advice to stay home.

A DHHS spokesman apologised for the error.

“It is as simple as a data entry error that was totally ­inadvertent,” the spokesman said. “We’re sending out multiple messages every day to ­different groups who are in different stages of quarantine.

“We’re talking about thousands of messages a day.”

Asked if they would be issuing new texts to clarify the advice, the spokesman said first they would have to identify the affected group.

“That’s a mammoth task,” the spokesman said, adding if people were concerned they had received an advice messages in error they should contact DHHS.

A government spokeswoman said on Sunday night that Victoria’s contact tracing team sent about 7000 message each day to COVID-19 positive cases and their close contacts.

“The Department of Health and Human Services has advised this was an inadvertent data entry error,” she said.

Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases must quarantine at home for 14 days after their last contact with the infected person.

REFUGEE HOTEL DETENTION WORKER TESTS POSITIVE

A staff member at a Melbourne refugee detention facility has tested positive to coronavirus.

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed the worker from the Mantra Hotel in Preston tested positive to the virus on July 8, a day after developing symptoms.

A deep clean is underway at the centre amid concerns the virus could have spread to detainees.

The worker’s last shift was on July 4 and no staff or detainees have so far shown symptoms of the virus.

“The staff member’s role involves very minimal contact with other staff or detainees,” a Home Affairs spokesperson said.

“No detainees or staff have been identified as a close contact as per the Health Department Guidelines.

“After discussions with Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), specifically their Public Health Unit (PHU), the risk of infection to other staff and detainees is considered low.”

– Aneeka Simonis

$750 CASH PAYMENTS TO LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS

Five million Australians will receive a cash injection as part of the Federal Government’s economic response to the coronavirus.

The payments will start flowing into the accounts of eligible Australians from today at a cost of about $3.8 billion.

The $750 Economic Support Payment (ESP) aims to help low income Australians during the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s the second round of such payments this year, with the first lot of $750 payments made in March and April to about 6.6 million people who were receiving Centrelink payments.

TOWER TESTING TO INCREASE

Testing is ramping up at apartment towers and in high-risk communities after a coronavirus outbreak infected dozens of Carlton public housing residents.

Health authorities revealed that 28 residents in a number of Carlton towers had tested positive, as the number of cases linked to North Melbourne and Flemington public housing ballooned to 237.

It comes as a man in his 70s died of the virus, taking the state’s death toll to 24 and the nation’s to 108.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Victoria was facing the “the public health challenge of our lifetime” as 273 new cases were recorded on Sunday.

“We haven’t even gotten to a peak with this epidemic and we have to throw absolutely everything at it,” he said.

Prof Sutton said the government was closely monitoring outbreaks and high-risk areas, including public housing and apartment blocks in Carlton, Fitzroy and Dandenong.

“They will reflect the communities in which they sit,” he said.

“We should not be surprised by the presence of coronavirus in any tower, what we need to do is support the communities in those towers to manage the risk.”

Prof Sutton said authorities were “stepping up testing” in settings, such as the apartment towers in Carlton, where the virus was likely to spread quickly.

– Alanah Frost

CASES LINKED TO SYDNEY PUB CLIMB

The number of COVID-19 infections linked to a Sydney hotel at the epicentre of an outbreak has climbed as authorities come closer to tracking down patient zero.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant told 2GB’s Ben Fordham more cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula will be confirmed later today.

She was not able to say how many new infections had been detected, but said the number had climbed from nine.

An 18-year-old staff member from southwestern Sydney and a Victorian man in his 20s who dined at the hotel on July 3 are among the known cases.

Genome testing is being done on them as well as the other cases, including a woman in her 50s who is a close contact of the teenager, and a woman aged in her 40s who had dinner at the hotel on July 3.

These are in addition to the previously reported cases of a 30-year-old woman from Liverpool and a 50-year-old man from the Blue Mountains who has passed coronavirus to three members of his household, the state’s chief medical officer Kerry Chant said.

ALLEGEDLY DRUNK DRIVER FINED FOR BREACHING RESTRICTIONS

An allegedly drunk driver who blew more than six times the legal limit has been fined $1652 for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

The 38-year-old Dandenong North man was pulled over by police after he was spotted swerving along the Princes Hwy in Dandenong at 12.15am on Monday.

He was breath tested at the scene and was taken to a nearby police station where he returned an evidentiary breath test reading of .313.

His license was suspended and his red Hyundai was impounded for 30 days.

It is expected he will be charged on summons with drink driving and traffic related matters.

– Aneeka Simonis



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