Another Victorian has died due to coronavirus, while the state’s cases have risen by 216 overnight. In Queensland, there are two more cases.
Another Victorian has died due to coronavirus, while the state’s cases have risen by 216 overnight. In Queensland, there are two more cases.

Queensland, NSW and Victoria virus cases increasing

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Victoria has recorded 216 new coronavirus cases overnight, while another Victorian has died due to the virus.

The man, in his 90s, sadly passed away in hospital overnight bringing the Victorian death toll to 23.

30 of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks.

There are currently 49 Victorians in hospital due to coronavirus, with 15 in intensive care.

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed two new cases had been recorded in Queensland - but both cases are people who recently returned from overseas.

And in NSW, seven new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed overnight - five in returned travellers in hotel quarantine  and two linked to a hotel in Sydney's southwest.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the effects of the lockdown in his state wouldn't be reflected in case numbers until next week and the following week.

"That's the nature of how this virus moves," Daniel Andrews said.

"Having driven in on the Monash Freeway from my home this morning, it is very, very noticeable that there is but a fraction of the traffic on the roads.

"Moving around I have reports from shopping centres, from the CBD, from all manner of different places."

Mr Andrews said it appeared Victorians were already embracing the suggestion they should wear face masks in public.

"It's quite noticeable that many more people are wearing masks now, and I'm grateful to them," he said.

"We got to be clear about this. It's not compulsory, but where you are out for a lawful purpose and you believe you may not be able to maintain that 1.5 metre distance from other people, then through an abundance of caution, and it's a low-cost, high reward.

"No mask is foolproof, but every contribution helps, and I'm very grateful to think that many more Victorians are wearing masks."

The Premier said every resident in the Albert Street public housing block in North Melbourne was being treated as if they had coronavirus.

"Everyone in the tower is essentially being treated for the purposes of the public health response as if they have the virus," he said.

"There are a number of people who do in fact have it, and there's been a massive testing program to get us to that point.

"But then, because of shared surfaces, and because for instance we got cases on different floors that seemingly had no contact with each other - they are not part of a friendship group or family - that's where the public health team came back to us really clearly and said, look, we have to treat the entire tower as if everybody is a close contact of someone who has got it and therefore at risk of not only symptoms now but later on developing this virus.

"There will be some additional cases."

Health minister Jenny Mikakos said the government was aiming to make testing as accessible as possible for locked down rsidents.

"Ultimately our ambition here is to provide a testing site to everyone within 10km of their home within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire," she said.

WERRIBEE AGED CARE FACILITY ON HIGH ALERT AFTER FOUR CASES

Concerns are mounting for residents of an aged care home in Werribee after four staff at the facility were diagnosed with coronavirus this week.

Glendale Aged Care is on high alert as it awaits more test results from residents and staff.

Earlier this month, a 90-year-old resident at the facility was infected with the virus but they are not believed to have been a close contact of the four staff who have now tested positive.

Authorities are investigating whether the virus was spread to workers while they were at the aged care home or if it is linked to other sources.

All residents are self-isolating in their rooms and the facility is undergoing a deep clean as officials work to limit any further spread.

 

Four staff members at Glendale Aged Care have tested positive for the virus.
Four staff members at Glendale Aged Care have tested positive for the virus.

POLICE STATION CLOSED AFTER OFFICER TESTS POSITIVE

Frankston police station has been closed and several officers are self-isolating after a police officer tested positive to coronavirus.

The constable was on-duty when he became unwell on Tuesday.

He underwent a COVID-19 test and was self-isolating when the results came back positive.

Authorities are working to determine if the officer had contact with members of the public while contagious.

Several police officers who had spent time with him are self-isolating as they await COVID-19 test results.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the station was immediately closed and will undergo a professional deep cleaning before reopening.

"Contact tracing is currently underway to establish how many Victoria Police officers had contact with the infected officer during the past 14 days," she said.

"The member had been on leave and only returned to work on July 6."

The Herald Sun has been told the officer had been patrolling the Frankston area in a car on Monday and Tuesday.

Infection investigators are working to determine how he contracted the virus and will notify members of the public who need to be tested.

"While the station is closed, local area service delivery will not be impacted," the police spokeswoman said.

"Victoria Police's priority first and foremost is to ensure the safety of its people and the community."

- Aneeka Simonis

 

SCHOOLS PREPARE FOR RETURN TO REMOTE LEARNING

It comes as most Melbourne students look set to resume remote learning even after extended school holidays due to this week's coronavirus case spike.

Preparations are being made to return to online teaching from July 20, with discussions around whether teachers would work from home or schools under a second wave of lockdowns.

While there is still a chance that metropolitan and Mitchell Shire students - other than those in year 11 and 12 - will return to classrooms on July 20, the news that there were 288 extra COVID-19 cases yesterday makes that scenario more unlikely.

Authorities have said schools are relatively safe environments for young people due to the fact few have had serious health concerns from COVID-19.

However, the spread of the virus through community transmission has raised the alarm about people moving around suburbs to get to school, including via public transport.
And the Herald Sun can reveal that children and teens accounted for more than a quarter of new coronavirus cases in the past fortnight, placing more pressure on back-to-school plans.

The alarming surge in children with COVID-19 has been uncovered via an exclusive analysis of Department of Health and Human Services data, which revealed that 305 Victorian kids aged 0-19 have been diagnosed since June 24.

The group represents 25.1 per cent of the 1214 new cases recorded in the 15-day period.

Murdoch Children's Research Institute epidemiologist George Patton said the "pattern of findings is absolutely consistent with what you would expect to see if there were school-based spread".
Professor Patton said the six-week lockdown is an opportunity to review how transmission has been happening and "why we are seeing this rise in the adolescent years".

Isobel, 12, prepares for a return to homeschooling due to a second lockdown as spikes in coronavirus spreads throughout Melbourne. Picture: Ian Currie
Isobel, 12, prepares for a return to homeschooling due to a second lockdown as spikes in coronavirus spreads throughout Melbourne. Picture: Ian Currie

Authorities are also looking closely at one of the state's biggest clusters - connected to Al-Taqwa College in Melbourne's west - given that 58 students are among the 158 people in that cohort.

It is unclear how many students may have contracted the virus at school, but the Department of Health advised anyone who had been at the school between June 19 and June 26 to quarantine.

That school, which is Islamic and run independently, won't open its doors at the beginning of Term 3.

Victoria's chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said for all other Melbourne schools to return to face-to-face learning on schedule the state would "need to see a turnaround" in COVID-19 numbers.

Premier Daniel Andrews has already announced an extra week of holidays, meaning schools can prepare for what is now a likely return to online learning.

Prof Sutton said a return to face-to-face learning was not "unthinkable", but there would need to be "a sufficient suppression of community transmission" for all students to head back.

Private schools are coming up with their own plans, with some returning to distance education for younger pupils next week while having VCE students on-site.

Regional schools will return for term 3 as usual on Monday.

Princes Hill Secondary College year 7 student, Isobel, 12, said she didn't want to learning from home again but "Dan Andrews must have a good reason for closing schools".

 

"The first time around learning at home just got boring, because it was the same thing over and over again," she said.

"I think the teachers are doing the best they can - it's not easy for them or for us."

Prof Sutton said any student or staff member with "the mildest of illness" should not attend schools, while new mandatory temperature checks will weed out anyone who was sick.

"That temperature screening is not just checking for temperatures, it is a prompt for all students that they shouldn't be turning up if they have symptoms - they will be sent home," Prof Sutton said.

Professor Patton said that a speedy return to classroom learning was crucial for students' educational outcomes and the mental health of young people and parents, but only when safe to do so.

Melbourne coronavirus map July 10
Melbourne coronavirus map July 10

"WHO health experts have been talking not just about droplet spread, but about airborne spread, which has huge implications if that is proving to be the case for even things like ventilation systems within schools," he said.

"All this has got to be thought through carefully so kids, teachers and administrators understand and I just don't know the extent to which those guidelines have been put in place."

"If you look at Finland - and they have done really well - they had a dedicated communication strategy with young people.

"It is thinking about the messages that are likely to be effective with young people. It is not about protecting Grandma; it is about understanding the devastating effect that this pandemic is going to have on their lives.

"If we don't get this under control, they will be the ones that will be the biggest losers in the long term."

matthew.johnston@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Victoria records 216 new cases, another Victorian dies



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