Victoria has recorded Australia’s first coronavirus-related death in more than a month, while new cases in the state have risen by double digits for the eighth day in a row.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, today said a man in his 80s died overnight, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 20, and the national tally to 103.
New cases in the state rose by 20 overnight, with seven linked to known outbreaks.
A further eight case have been linked to community transmission. However, that number is down on the number of community-transmitted cases recorded in recent days.
“That number has been around 10 around every day, but a decrease to eight is somewhat encouraging,” Dr Sutton said.
While the figures are still cause for alarm, Dr Sutton said, “it certainly means we’re not getting an increase or an exponential increase in community transmission cases day-by-day”.
Dr Sutton said the rate of effective reproduction – that is, how many people someone with COVID-19 is expected to infect – is currently above 2, given the fact community transmission figures have jumped since early June.
“But with the stabilisation in numbers in the last few days, I expect that that will go back down and I absolutely hope that we can get it below one and drive those numbers back down to zero,” he said.
As for concerns for a ‘second wave’, Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday told SBS News he was “very concerned” about the recent figures – but added the state would only have a second wave if case numbers “get out of hand”.
On Monday, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brendan Murphy, said there’s no solid definition for a ‘second wave’, outside of the concept of health authorities being unable contain infections in the short-term.
However, he reckoned that Victoria is “responding very effectively” to the recent surge in cases.
If you think you may have coronavirus, either call your doctor (DON’T visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you’re struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
And please remember to wash your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) and keep at least 1.5 metres between you and those around you.Image: Luis Ascui / AAP Image