15 New Cases, 5 Virus Deaths in Victoria

By AAP
September 22, 2020 Updated: September 23, 2020

Victoria has had another five COVID-19 deaths, taking the state toll to 771 and the national figure to 859, as new cases dropped to 15.

The 14-day new case average for Melbourne also dropped below 30 to 29.4, while it is down to 1.1 for regional areas.

There was also good news on cases with an unknown source over 14 days, with that figure dropping to 41 in Melbourne.

There are none in regional Victoria.

Authorities want Melbourne’s new case average between 30 and 50 before they consider easing restrictions next Monday.

But aged care remains a key issue for Victoria in its second wave.

Of Tuesday’s 28 new cases, 24 were linked to 11 separate aged care facilities.

Those cases included aged care residents, staff and their close contacts.

It prompted Health Minister Jenny Mikakos to rebuke AdventCare Whitehorse in Nunawading after its staff were filmed last week dancing and mingling with residents without masks.

Mikakos noted aged care workplaces made up 73 percent of active healthcare staff infections, which numbered 74 on Sept. 22.

“Whether it’s pyjama parties or this, it’s really just not good enough,” she tweeted.

The state government unveiled a $30 million package on Sept. 22 to upgrade 50 public sector aged care services across Melbourne and regional areas.

Active aged care cases in the state peaked at 2075 on Aug. 16 but have now dropped to 328.

That figure must sit between 30 and 50 for authorities to consider a further easing of Melbourne’s strict stage four lockdown provisions Sept. 28.

Premier Daniel Andrews said no final decision would be taken until the weekend, with any confirmation likely to come on Sept. 27.

Meanwhile, the premier also announced three of Melbourne’s five contact tracing hubs would open in the next few days.

Western Health (west), Austin Health (northeast) and Monash Health (southeast) will lead the hubs, which were announced on Sept. 8.

Andrews said Monash Health had already done “amazing work” managing the Casey cluster linked to seven households in Melbourne’s outer southeast.

There have been no new cases in that cluster of 43 for two straight days.