A Victorian man in his 20s has become the youngest person to have died in Australia due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews on Aug. 14 at the daily COVID-19 update said the man’s death was a “terrible tragedy.”
Andrews said there may be a further inquest to the circumstances of the young man’s death.
“It may well be that the coroner will look at that matter, and determine the circumstances of that,” Andrews said.
This may help determine whether he died with COVID-19 or whether COVID-19 contributed his death.
The man’s death was among 14 others—all elderly people over 80 years of age—bringing the state’s toll to 289.
“Twelve of the 14 fatalities are linked to aged care outbreaks,” Andrews said.
Previously the youngest COVID-19 deaths in Australia were two men in their 30s who were also from Victoria. The youngest female deaths were four women in their 50s.
In August there have been 167 deaths reported as being due to COVID-19 in Australia, only two have been recorded in New South Wales, all the others were from Victoria.
Concerns Over Increased Virus Cases of Unknown Source
“Mystery cases” continue to be of concern in Victoria. Andrews revealed at the press conference there were another 51 mystery cases bringing the total to 3,109—which is 19 percent of all cases.
A significant proportion of these are 20 to 29-year-olds; cases of elderly people are typically from known outbreaks such as aged care homes.
Victoria’s 2600 contact tracers have been unable to determine the source of one in five virus cases since March.
It has been said the contact tracing system is stretched, leading to delays and mistakes, creating conditions where unsuspecting Victorians could spread the virus.
On Aug. 12 Premier Andrews was defensive about claims that his health department’s contact tracing system is stretched, and deflected questions on frequently reported delays and mistakes by contact tracers.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton noted there are several reasons why contact tracers have been unsuccessful after conducting inquiries.
“That’ll be for a number of reasons they just simply don’t have anyone else in their household who’s been unwell, they can’t identify anyone in their workplace who’s been unwell, and the places that they nominate don’t have existing cases. And so we can’t determine absolutely where they’ve got it from,” Sutton said.
In regional Victoria, under stage three restrictions, health authorities have noticed some “worrying trends” of increasing mystery cases, in particular the areas of Ballarat, Bendigo, and Geelong. According to Sutton, 13 percent of COVID-19 cases in regional Victoria are mystery cases.
The Mayor of Bendigo, Margaret O’Rourke, has called for more information on where viruses are from, stating it would help people to be aware if they knew what local government area the positive case came from.
“When it comes to suburb, it makes it more real for people,” O’Rourke said in a Bendigo Advertiser report on Aug. 14.
“I think it means people will become more hyper-vigilant.”
Andrews reassured that all information on virus outbreaks is publicised by contact tracers.
“If you got it through an outbreak, then we report outbreaks—we speak to those all the time, and there’s a media release that comes out from the Chief Health Officer each day and that, to the best of our ability, tries to go through all those outbreaks.”
Sutton added that Victoria is conducting contact tracing on a big scale compared to other countries that have stopped doing so at this stage.
“When cases are at 50 a day or 50 a week, everyone in the world was doing contact tracing to, to the nth degree, finding people very quickly,” said Sutton, and they were “getting all of the details for every single case. When you’ve got 300, 400 cases a day that stretches any system, anywhere in the world, and a number of countries just stopped contact tracing.”