#AceHealthReport – Aug.24: Premier Daniel Andrews has urged Victorians to get the vaccine available to them today, as the state grapples to pull its worsening Delta outbreak under control.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Victoria records 71 local #COVID19 cases, Melbourne told to consider ‘soft lockdown’ as Premier Daniel Andrews said just 16 of the cases were in quarantine while infectious: Obviously 16 out of 71 is a significant concern to us,” Mr Andrews said.
“There will be particular focus on Shepparton and some inner-western suburbs of challenge to us.”
The Premier said as the state battled its outbreak, authorities had noted a small number of people had just “taken a few extra days” to get tested.
“Even a few extra days almost guarantees that you will give it to multiple other people,” he said.
“Your family, the people you love the most. And you don’t want that.”
He said a small number of people were also not quarantining for the full 14 days, and pleaded with them to do the right thing.
COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said new cases had been detected at a range of stages into their illness.
“We have cases of people who are asymptomatic and are genuinely quite surprised when they test positive,” he said.
“We’ve also got examples of children collapsing at school and vomiting at school, that’s how ill they are.
“And when we then go to the household we realise … there are a number of people in the house who are positive, there are a range of symptoms being displayed.”
The new cases were identified from 46,446 test results received yesterday, and there were 22,191 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites.
The Premier said compliance with current restrictions was key to pushing the outbreak down, while emphasising there were thousands of vaccination appointments available in the next week.
Vaccination today better than a booking weeks down the track, Andrews says
He urged anyone with appointments not to cancel or abandon their appointment due to the possibility of widened Pfizer eligibility next month.
Mr Andrews said he had been advised that there were around 10,000 people each day who either cancelled or were “no shows” for their appointment.The Premier urged Victorians not to postpone the certainty of a vaccine today for a potential booking in a few weeks’ time.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)
He said that figure would include people cancelling future appointments and was a doubling of the figure about a week earlier.
“An appointment today is better than a booking in a fortnight or a month,” he said.
“Turn up and play your part in vaccinating our way out of this, vaccinating our way into a very different set of rules.
“All the while driving these numbers down as low as we can possibly get them.”
The opposition has called on the government to expand its vaccination rollout beyond the 50 state hubs already in use.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said there was “a lot of AstraZeneca” and suggested the state government needed to do more to promote the rollout, including promotion of GP clinics and pharmacies in the Commonwealth’s rollout.
He said Victoria should not be lagging behind New South Wales in its vaccination rate.
Mr Andrews suggested the NSW pandemic, which has recorded daily infections above 800 for the past three days, was contributing to a sense of urgency in the community there and driving up vaccinations.
Public housing tower cases as outbreak spreads to Mornington Peninsula
Mr Weimar said the outbreak was spreading into new suburbs including Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, as well as Essendon, Fitzroy North and Camberwell in Melbourne.
He said he still believed the state could “grab this and get hold of this and manage these numbers down, but that’s going to require all of us to work together”.
He said 112 of the 494 active cases in Victoria were aged under 10 and there was a person in their 20s in intensive care.
“It’s a very, very young age profile,” Mr Weimar said.
The COVID-19 commander also appealed to young men in particular to get tested in the Newport area, which was where one of the first clusters in the recent outbreak was detected.
“We really are concerned about this ongoing emergence of cases in the Newport area,” Mr Weimar said.
“If you’re connected to the footy club, if you’re connected to the gyms, if you’re active in the community, please come forward and get tested.”
The Royal Melbourne Hospital has confirmed it is now providing care to four patients and six staff members who have tested positive to COVID-19 as part of an outbreak at the hospital.
The hospital said around 450 staff had been furloughed after an outbreak which authorities believe stemmed from a Shepparton man who visited the hospital for surgery.
“As the initial exposure period of the infected patient dates back to 12 August 2021, extensive contact tracing and testing of impacted staff and patients is ongoing,” the hospital said.
The hospital is also providing care to 12 COVID-19 patients separate to the outbreak, including three in intensive care.
The emergency department of St Vincent’s Hospital in Fitzroy has also been listed as a tier 2 exposure site, with the period of concern between 7:20am and 5:40pm on August 14.
The hospital was added to the list of exposure sites on Monday afternoon.
Two COVID-19 cases have been found on separate floors of the public housing tower at 33 Alfred Street in North Melbourne, according to state MP for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell.
In a tweet, Ms Sandell said everyone who had been at the building from August 17 to August 21 must get tested.
She said testing was available onsite from 9:30am to 7:30pm.
Strong testing numbers called for by health authorities in recent days have been putting the state’s testing network under strain, with a number of COVID-19 testing centres in Melbourne at capacity this morning.
As of 11:15am, no more people were being accepted at IPC Health Deer Park, the Northern Hospital drive through, Moonee Valley Racecourse, IPC Health West Sunshine, Mickleham Road Tullamarine, and Cohealth West Footscray.
Authorities have said afternoons are a less busy time for testing sites and estimated wait times can be checked on the Department of Health’s website.
On Sunday, Health Minister Martin Foley said he believed the state was “still in the realm of hauling this back”, despite the growing outbreak in Shepparton.
The government announced a tightening of the rules on childcare access over the weekend, with only vulnerable children and children of an essential worker allowed to take up childcare.
Victoria urged to consider a ‘bridge’ to higher vaccinations if lockdown fails
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely has urged the Victorian community to start a conversation now about its options if the lockdown was not successful.
Professor Blakely said he still hoped the state would successfully drive the outbreak back down to five or fewer daily new cases by September 2, when the lockdown was due to end.
“And I strongly support the Victorian government’s strong stance to give it a really good push for two weeks,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
But he said if the state was unable to drive the Delta outbreak back down, one option could be relaxing to a “soft lockdown” with fewer restrictions on workers, more time allowed outdoors and an abandonment of the curfew.
“Based on my initial calculations, what would happen is case numbers would go up, and then you’d catch them about October and then they’d come back down again as the vaccination coverage is going up,” he said.
“And it looks plausible that you could catch it at about 400 cases per day.
“I know that doesn’t sound great, but you could catch it then and then bring it down and therefore you would be in a soft lockdown until November, whatever that looks like.”Victorian COVID-19 exposure sitesA number of shops in Melbourne’s west were added to the health department’s list of exposure sites last night, while more venues in Shepparton have been identified as cases in the regional city grow.Read more
Professor Blakely said that might enable a “tidy bridge” over to the point in time when vaccination coverage was higher.
He acknowledged this would be a pivot “earlier than we would have liked … to living with the virus”, but noted vaccinations had played a role in limiting deaths in the New South Wales outbreak.
“I think we need a week as a civil society to start chatting about these things,” he said.
Professor Blakely said despite the hardship caused by Victoria’s sixth lockdown, there was cause for optimism about the end of the year.
“I reckon Christmas can be good because I reckon by Christmas, if we can shake a leg, there’s no reason why we can’t have vaccinated all children by then, before the end of school,” he said.
“So I don’t see why we can’t get to 80 per cent of all five-plus-year-olds, all schoolchildren and older vaccinated by Christmas.
“If we get to that it’ll be a pretty damn good Christmas.”
When asked about the proposal, Mr Andrews said it was “not necessarily a given” that Victoria had the vaccine supply to get the eligible population to 70 and 80 per cent coverage.
“The notion that we could vaccinate people as fast as the Delta virus infects people, that is not what the Doherty modelling shows, it is not the National Cabinet agreed position,” he said.
“Delta moves faster than we can vaccinate people.”
Police say far-right extremists involved in weekend protest
Police will consider shutting down public transport and blocking road access to Melbourne’s CBD if they suspect there might be a repeat of Saturday’s violent anti-lockdown protest.
Officers arrested more than 200 people at the protest and 21 police members sustained injuries during clashes with demonstrators.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said authorities would consider moves to restrict access to the city centre, even if it disrupted people travelling to the area for legitimate reasons.
“Rather than having everyone coming her and potentially spreading the virus , rather than having everyone come here and become confrontational and being violent, let’s shut down the transport network,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Chief Commissioner Patton said he had received intelligence that right-wing extremists were involved in the protest, which involved around 4,000 people.
“It was a mixture of a range of people with no clear leadership, just many people came in with an intention to confront police and with anger and confrontation on their mind,” he said.
“We had marbles thrown at us, stubbies thrown at us, flares thrown at police officers. It was a disgrace what occurred, and we can’t allow it to happen again.”
Chief Commissioner Patton confirmed police for the first time used new advanced anti-riot weaponry against protesters, including squash ball-sized rubber rounds.
“It was the first time we’ve used them in a formal protest activity arena, yes, but it was required I mean I completely support the tactical decision that was made to do that,” he said.
#AceHealthDesk report……Published: Aug.24: 2021:
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