Low Deaths a Blip as Victoria Dints Virus

August 15, 2020 Updated: August 15, 2020

Victoria has recorded its lowest number of COVID-19 deaths in 14 days but authorities warn it’s likely just a blip.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned against lockdown fatigue as the virus-hit state appears to turn a corner on case numbers while a drop in deaths is likely a blip.

The state recorded four more COVID-19 deaths and 303 new cases on Saturday, the second-lowest daily tally this month after Thursday’s figure of 278.

Daily case numbers are gradually decreasing, with the seven-day average down to 344 from 521 a week ago.

But authorities have flagged more progress is needed before lockdown restrictions can be eased.

“The signs are encouraging but it is not over,” Andrews told reporters on Saturday.

“There is a long way to go and the only thing that wins if we get fatigue, if we were in any sense to give up … is the coronavirus.”

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said Victorians should be filled with hope that restrictions were making a dint on daily cases totals, but reinforced there was no room for complacency.

There are 3383 cases with an unknown source, up from 206 since Friday compared to 51, 107, 58 in recent days.

Andrews noted it was a “very, very big increase” but reminded people contact tracing is finalised in batches.

“It does take time to try and work out, try to exhaust all possible sources and then to declare that case a mystery case,” the premier said.

“I would not read too much more into that, it is simply the product of multiple days’ work being brought to book.”

The four further deaths—a female in her 80s, two males in their 80s, and a female in her 90s—takes the state’s toll to 293 and the nation’s to 379.

It’s the state’s lowest death tally since August 1 when two people were declared deceased.

“It probably is a blip,” Sutton said.

“It is always pleasing not to have a day of 10 or 20 deaths, they are awful days.”

Two of the four deaths were aged care residents.

Sutton noted the number of active cases in aged care (2938) and among healthcare workers (1178) are stabilising but there were still “far too much”.

Some 101 deaths in Victoria have come in the past week alone.

There remains 661 people in hospital in the state and 41 in intensive care, with 28 of those on a ventilator.

More than half of those in hospital are from aged care settings, Sutton confirmed on Saturday.

Melburnians remain subject to strict night-time curfews, time-limits on outdoor exercise, distance allowed from home, mandatory public mask-wearing, and shutdowns of non-essential industries.

Regional Victorians are living under stage three restrictions.

There are 7875 active cases, with 7200 in metropolitan Melbourne and about 484 in regional areas.

Callum Godde