Victorian Covid cases rocket back up to 1,683 as vulnerable young cancer patients exposed to virus
Victorian Covid cases have rocketed back up to 1,638, the second-most recorded in a single day in Australia in the whole pandemic.
Infections dipped on Wednesday to 1,420 after a high of 1,763 the day before, but that appears to not be the start of a turnaround in the outbreak.
Two people also died while positive with Covid and that number is expected to get worse as more sick and unvaccinated Victorians enter hospital.
The new cases were diagnosed form 77,238 tests and 36,672 vaccine doses were administered in state-run facilities on Wednesday.
Busy St Kilda Beach on the weekend, with lockdown fatigue setting in across the city a possible contributor to skyrocketing infections
Infections dipped on Wednesday to 1,420 after a high of 1,763 the day before, but that appears to not be the start of a turnaround in the outbreak
Experts last week predicted Victoria’s outbreak could peak at up to 3,000 a day in mid-October before it started to fall, as NSW’s has for a few weeks.
Other think that is too pessimistic about 2,000 is more likely within the next few weeks.
Authorities are racing to identify all vulnerable young patients who were exposed to a Covid-19 outbreak at a Melbourne children’s hospital cancer ward.
A patient’s parent spent at least four days at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville while infectious, with the exposure period stretching from October 1 to October 4.
A hospital spokeswoman said contact tracing was still underway on Wednesday night, and as a result these dates may change.
The hospital’s Kookaburra cancer care ward has been identified as a tier one exposure site, and its main street walkway has been listed as a tier two site for September 26.
An infected parent of a patient visited Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital (pictured) Kookaburra ward over four days from Saturday to Monday and has recently tested positive to Covid-19 forcing the ward to go into lockdown
The Kookaburra cancer care ward in the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (pictured) has been identified as a tier one exposure site
RCH chief executive Bernadette McDonald said all affected patients, parents or carers have been placed into single rooms at the hospital to quarantine for 14 days, with contact tracing for all others underway.
No children in the cancer ward had tested positive as of Wednesday evening, but the hospital has 12 Covid-positive patients in its care, four in other wards and eight being treated at home.
Ms McDonald said some children are turning up to the hospital with other illnesses or injuries and then testing positive for Covid.
But she said: ‘We’re not seeing extreme illness in children.’
It comes as Victoria recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic’s third wave, after 11 people were reported to have died with Covid-19 on Wednesday. The state also reported 1420 new locally acquired cases.
Experts last week predicted Victoria’s outbreak could peak at up to 3,000 a day in mid-October before it started to fall, similar to NSW (pictured, people cycle in Melbourne)
Victoria recorded another surge of infections on yesterday with hundreds of Year 12 students forced into isolation (pictured: a melbourne vaccination hub in October)
The state government has announced Victorians stranded in the ACT and NSW will be able to return home as border restrictions eased overnight.
Areas considered red zones in NSW and the ACT have been downgraded to orange zones, allowing residents and non-residents to enter Victoria if they take a test within 72 hours of arrival and isolate until receiving a negative result.
Extreme risk zone classifications for locked-down areas like Greater Sydney have been demoted to red, meaning people can return if they isolate at home for 14 days.
Meanwhile, office buildings in Melbourne’s CBD are the emptiest they’ve ever been as occupancy hit an all-time low in September.
A Property Council survey found that office occupancy was at a measly six per cent, down from 45 per cent recorded earlier in the year.
Property Council Victorian Executive Director Danni Hunter said Melbourne’s CBD was the place hardest hit by the pandemic and was currently ‘on life support’.
Office buildings in Melbourne’s CBD are the emptiest they’ve ever been as occupancy hit an all-time low in September (pictured, deserted Flinders Street in the city’s CBD)
A renewed effort to persuade workers out of their homes and back into offices is anticipated to breathe some life back into Melbourne’s CBD (pictured, a construction worker in Melbourne)
‘We need people back in the city as they are the lifeblood of Melbourne and support our businesses,’ Ms Hunter told the Herald Sun.
She said the City of Melbourne had done everything in its power to keep the city alive as workers, tourists and students alike remain under lockdown orders.
However a renewed effort to persuade workers out of their homes and back into office buildings is anticipated to breathe some life back into Melbourne’s CBD.
Initiatives include the introduction of vaccination hubs and testing sites at workplaces, the lifting of work from home directives and requiring employees to return to offices for at least three days a week.
Ms Hunter said it would take switching the mindset of Victorian’s from survival to revival as the state prepares to reopen, a date earmarked for October 26.
She said at its peak, the central business district employed around 500,000 Victorians and produced around 25 per cent of Victoria’s GSP.
At its peak, Melbourne’s abandoned CBD employs around 500,000 Victorian’s and accounts for around 25 per cent of Victoria’s GSP (pictured, masked diners in Melbourne)
It comes as one of Premier Dan Andrews’ government advisors has been caught out in an alleged Covid breach just days after he condemned illegal gatherings.
A photo posted to social media by a friend of Sadia Haque, a senior policy adviser at the Department of Environment, is alleged to reveal a ‘blatant’ breach of the rules.
The Instagram photo pictures Ms Haque standing alongside four other maskless women celebrating a birthday in what is understood to be a home in Canterbury.
The birthday girl and friend of the senior advisor posted the since-deleted photo with the caption: ‘When my otherwise obedient and rule-abiding friends become rebellious for one day and go out of their way to wish me on my birthday I can’t help but think I have been such a bad influence on them’.
The alleged breach comes just days after Mr Andrews blamed those hosting illegal household gatherings for the recent surge in Covid case numbers.
Mr Andrews office has been notified of the alleged incident with a government spokesperson simply stating officials ‘expect everyone to follow the rules’.
The department of environment said it would consider the facts of the matter and determine what course of action was appropriate.
Across Victoria 36,672 vaccine doses were administered (pictured, a health worker carries vaccine doses in Melbourne)
Meanwhile, the Victorian opposition has hatched its own plan to reopen the hospitality sector with an accelerated return to in-house dining.
The recently unveiled plan will allow patrons to enjoy food and beverages outdoors when the state hits the 70 per cent vaccination target and inside when 80 per cent of the state is fully vaccinated.