A record 317 new cases, two more deaths confirmed

Victoria has recorded 317 new coronavirus cases while two men in their 80s have died overnight, with the state's chief health officer warning that Victoria "may still not have hit our peak".

The new deaths bring the total number of of Victorian deaths to 29, while there are currently 2128 active cases currently in Victoria.

Of the new cases, 28 cases are linked to known outbreaks, while 289 cases are under investigation.

There are currently 109 Victorians in hospital, with 29 of those in intensive care.

The Premier said there were no plans to move to stage four restrictions despite the record number of cases.

"I know there's been a lot of discussion, a lot written and said about possible stage four - there are no announcements to be made about that today," Daniel Andrews said.

"That shouldn't be read to mean there will be announcements made tomorrow.

"We plan for every single contingency. It's well too early for us to be moving to a whole new stage."

The Premier said some Victorians were continuing to make bad decisions.

"We continue to see a smaller number of people making choices, not only are they wrong, they're not particularly smart," Mr Andrews said.

"There's a long, long list of nations around the world that are dealing with second waves," he said.

"And the best way to deal with it: have settings in place that are proportionate to the challenge you face.

"And then have a very high degree of compliance across the community in recognition of what is lawful, in recognition of what actually works, and in recognition of the fact that no family will be spared the cost and the pain of this virus if we don't get it under control."

Lockdown regulations that came into force last week are not yet expected to be reflected in the coronavirus tally.

The state's chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said it was imperative the numbers were brought under control.

"I said earlier this week, we hadn't hit our peak," he said.

"We may still not have hit our peak.

It's a big number. It needs to turn around.

"In some ways, I expected it to turn around this week.

"But as I always said, it's no guarantee. It's upon all of us to be able to turn this number around."

The stage three restrictions have been in place for over a week, with an average incubation period of five or six days, plus the time for notification to get the numbers in, we would really expect a plateauing in the next couple of days.

ELECTIVE SURGERY PUT ON HOLD

Some elective surgeries will be put on hold as Victoria prepares to receive an influx of Coronavirus cases in hospital.

All Category 3 surgeries will be postponed in Metropolitan areas from today, while other elective surgeries will be reduced to half the normal activity, in the bid to limit the number of people moving through medical facilities.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced the change on Thursday and said the move would protect Victoria's health system.

"Earlier this year we started to prepare the system for the worst-case scenario to ensure that we had the equipment and resources necessary for our hospitals and ICUs to care for the needs of very ill Coronavirus patients."

It came as Victoria recorded a record of 317 cases overnight.

Premier Daniel Andrews also revealed two more people had died and hundreds more were currently in hospital.

He also put the message out to health workers ahead of the influx "that we are deeply grateful to each of you."

In the bid to prepare the state for an influx of patients the former Peter MacCaullum Cancer Centre now know as the St Vincent's Hospital on the Park, will be opened up with 84 beds.

Additional beds have also been added at hospitals in Casey, Geelong, Bendigo and Shepparton.

Victoria currently has 1200 ventilators available.

Private hospitals can continue taking Category 1 elective surgery patients and urgent Category 2.

- Alex White

 

AGED CARE, AL-TAQWA CLUSTERS CONTINUE TO GROW

There have been more than 160 outbreaks in Victoria.

Existing outbreaks have grown to a total of:

- 157 at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina;

- Six at HWL Ebsworth Lawyers in Melbourne;

- 37 at Somerville Retail Services in Tottenham;

- 31 at Menarock Aged Care in Essendon;

- Five at St Basil's Home for the Aged in Fawkner;

- 23 at Glendale Aged Care in Werribee;

- 21 at Estia Health Aged Care in Ardeer;

- 29 at JBS abattoir in Brooklyn.

Prof Sutton said the definition of outbreaks changed depending on the setting.

"If we get one case in a staff member or a resident in an aged care facility, we call it an outbreak because of the urgency of the response that's required," he said.

"Other outbreaks relate to transmission between individuals in a setting outside of a home."

Prof Sutton said it took time for an active cluster to be deemed inactive.

"We really have to go through two full incubation periods of no further cases to call it closed," he said.

"There's a lot that aren't active, but they're still on the books in terms of being called active."

 

 

WINDSOR HOSPITAL SHUTS AFTER DOCTOR TESTS POSITIVE

Visitors have been banned from the Avenue Private Hospital in Windsor after a visiting medical officer tested positive for COVID-19.

The doctor worked in the operating theatre complex over the past seven days.

The staff members were close contacts with the medical officer, all of which are now self-isolating and being tested.

- Tamsin Rose

 

NESTLE FACTORY CLOSES AFTER WORKER TESTS POSITIVE

A Nestle factory site in Melbourne's north has closed after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

Deep cleaning is under way at the food giant's Campbellfield site, with all staff ordered to self-isolate at home.

Workers unable to work from home will be placed on leave until the factory off the Hume Highway reopens.

Nestle spokesperson Margaret Stuart said the company had started contact tracing in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services.

She also said no one onsite met the Federal Government's close contact criteria guidelines

- Anthony Piovesan

 

 

PM TO ANNOUNCE $2 BIL JOBS SCHEME

Australians struggling to find work amid soaring unemployment and economic uncertainty will have access to retraining and upskilling as part of a $2bn jobs scheme.

Scott Morrison will on Thursday also announce a $1.5bn extension to the tradie wage subsidy scheme to keep apprentices in jobs.

Businesses will be paid up to $7000 a quarter to keep an apprentice on - expected to support about 180,000 jobs.

The scheme, initially due to expire in September and only available to small businesses, will now cover medium-sized businesses with up to 199 employees until March 2021.

The Prime Minister will also unveil a new JobTrainer scheme to provide up to 340,700 new training places for school leavers and jobless Aussies, with courses slated to start as soon as September.

Scott Morrison will on Thursday also announce a $1.5 billion extension to the tradie wage subsidy scheme to keep apprentices in jobs. Picture: Martin Ollman
Scott Morrison will on Thursday also announce a $1.5 billion extension to the tradie wage subsidy scheme to keep apprentices in jobs. Picture: Martin Ollman

"The jobs and skills we'll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost," Mr Morrison said.

"COVID-19 is unprecedented but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover."

The federal government will stump up $500m for the scheme, with states asked to match it per capita - about $130m for Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews will also be asked to sign up to a heads of agreement paper to reform the vocational education and training sector to be eligible for the JobTrainer funding.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will on Thursday release new unemployment figures, with federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this week warning they would be dire.

While official unemployment was 7.1 per cent, Mr Frydenberg said the real rate was more like 13.3 per cent.

 

 

A McDonald’s worker in Melbourne’s Collins St store. Picture: Ian Currie
A McDonald’s worker in Melbourne’s Collins St store. Picture: Ian Currie

 

The newly formed Nationals Skills Commission will work with states to identify which areas are in the most need. Healthcare, social assistance, transport, postal and warehousing, manufacturing, retail and trade were high on the list.

Both TAFE and private registered training organisations will deliver the courses.

Skills Minister Michaelia Cash said the package would help Australia recover from the effects of COVID-19 on jobs.

"This package will be essential as the economy rebuilds so that people looking for work can re-skill and upskill for in-demand jobs, provide school leavers with a pathway into their careers, and ensure businesses are able to get the skilled workers they need," Ms Cash said.

 

VICTORIA'S TOURISM SECTOR 'LOSING HOPE'

Victorian tourism industry is bracing for even more bad news with longtime operators "losing hope" after the release of job numbers that show employment plummeting.

A senior industry figure believes the latest lockdown on metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will bring more pain to the sector that had barely begun to recover from restrictions that has crippled tourism reliant businesses since mid-March.

The ABS job numbers released on Monday showed a 21 per cent fall in work in accommodation and food services.

Victoria Tourism Industry Council chief executive Felicia Mariani said it was a "sad reflection" of the industry's worst fears.

 

Victorian operators have had to close their businesses completely, and only 25 per cent have been able to find some way to partially maintain operating.
Victorian operators have had to close their businesses completely, and only 25 per cent have been able to find some way to partially maintain operating.

 

"That is four times of an all industries average," she said.

"If we consider most of these business have shut down or tourism businesses in regional Victoria who are suffering because of cancellations...They have really only had about four weeks to get back up and I have to say, people were optimistic with strong bookings - then to have to shut down again, no one has had time to refill the tanks."

Ms Mariani told the Herald Sun said the situation was "very worrying".

"I talk with operators every day, they have been stalwarts in our industry, they have been in our industry two decades and are real shining stars and these guys, they are quickly losing hope. It's a very scary time, people are concerned, many are essentially looking for virtual restarts of their business. Many are concerned about their ability to be resilient at the moment."

To counter this, VTIC was calling on the federal government to extend JobKeeper for the tourism industry.

"Every tourism business across Victoria has pointed to JobKeeper as the primary lifeline that's enabled them to keep their businesses afloat. With the latest round of restrictions placing unbearable stress on Victorian tourism operators, the extension of JobKeeper will be the difference between businesses going to the wall and potentially surviving from now to the end of this nightmare year."

 

Tourism in regional Victoria, including the ski fields, is being battered by the coronavirus restrictions.
Tourism in regional Victoria, including the ski fields, is being battered by the coronavirus restrictions.

Industry surveys conducted by VTIC during the first shutdown showed 66 per cent of Victorian operators had to close their businesses completely, and only 25 per cent were able to find some way to partially maintain operating.

It was encouraging to hear the Prime Minister making positive comments about supporting those areas in the grip of coronavirus restrictions, she said.

"At the end of the day the sustaining of JobKeeper for the tourism and hospitality sector is vital because they have been hit for so long and so hard."

 

 

 

Coronavirus Victoria map July 15 2020
Coronavirus Victoria map July 15 2020

 

 

 

Victoria’s construction workers have been urged to don face masks. Picture: Alex Coppel
Victoria’s construction workers have been urged to don face masks. Picture: Alex Coppel

 

 

MASK UP ON WORK SITES

Victoria's construction workers have been urged to don face masks as employers adopt new measures to protect against Melbourne's second wave of coronavirus.

In new advice, an alliance of industry groups and unions said staff should take further measures to stem the spread.

Builders are urged to wear masks to and from work, when social distancing is not possible, and when in a lift, hoist or other confined space.

It comes as courts across Melbourne and Mitchell Shire make masks mandatory for all court users.

Official government advice remains that masks are recommended for Victorians in lockdown areas who are unable to socially distance.

 

 

 

 

Camberwell Grammar student, Mitchell, 18, with Julian Visser, tests a face shield developed using a 3D printer. Picture: David Caird
Camberwell Grammar student, Mitchell, 18, with Julian Visser, tests a face shield developed using a 3D printer. Picture: David Caird

 

FACE TO FACE WITH REAL INNOVATION

Camberwell Grammar School students have watched a staff idea turn into thousands of reusable face shields for frontline COVID-19 medical staff.

After Victoria's first coronavirus lockdown, Camberwell Grammar School information and communications technology integrator Julian Visser began making face shields using his 3D printer at home for friends working in hospitals.

With word of mouth spreading and demand increasing, Mr Visser approached the school to use its 10 3D printers, leading to the founding of the Boye Medical Group.

"I thought if this could be helpful, why not," Mr Visser said.

"It went from one shield to many thousands. We wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of the school.

" It's a great example of innovative design. For students, I hope this can be a real-world example of going from an idea to full production in a short period of time."

Now with a manufacturing base in Dandenong, the group has been contracted by the government to make 35,000 shields by the end of the month and is taking public orders

 

Originally published as A record 317 new cases, two more deaths confirmed


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