The number of people hospitalised and in intensive care due to COVID-19 is rising, amid warnings from authorities that more deaths from coronavirus are to be expected due to the latest outbreak.
Key points:Of the 24 people hospitalised in Australia with COVID-19, 20 are in VictoriaDeputy CMO Michael Kidd said the increasing rate was a “reminder to all of us about how serious COVID-19 can be”Victoria’s CHO Brett Sutton said there was “an expectation” people would die as a result of this spike
Eighty-six new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Australia since Wednesday, and in that time, six more people have entered hospital and two more have entered intensive care.
“This is a stark reminder of the very serious impact that COVID-19 can have, especially on the health of elderly people and people with significant chronic health problems,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said.
In Australia, there are currently 24 people in hospital with coronavirus, five of which are in ICU. Victoria makes up the majority of those numbers with 20 in hospital in the state and four in ICU.
“This is why we need to be so vigilant in our response to COVID-19 to prevent continuing hospitalisations and people getting very, very unwell,” Professor Kidd said.
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Victoria has recorded more than 300 cases in the past week, nearly all of which were locally acquired.
“We remain very concerned about the outbreak in Victoria and the continuing cases of community transmission,” he said.
Dozens of Melbourne suburbs spent their first day under strict new lockdown measures on Thursday, after the Victorian Government imposed rules limiting movement in those areas, except for essential reasons.
UNSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws, who sits on the World Health Organization Experts Advisory Panel, said the numbers were moving in a concerning direction.
“I’ve been looking at the pattern for the last 14 days and the rolling 14-day average and it’s really gained an acceleration, particularly over the last week,” she said.
“So this increase [in Victoria] of 77, sadly isn’t a surprise because if you’re watching the pattern of this 14-day average, it’s about a 5-fold increase since the last 14-day average.
“When it gets this speed, it’s very hard to put it back to where it was before.”
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After last week announcing Australia’s first death from coronavirus in a month, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he expected more deaths would follow from the current outbreak.
“When you’ve got significant community transmission, when you’ve got 70-odd cases every day, there is absolutely a possibility, an expectation, that some of those people will die,” Professor Sutton said on Thursday.
Professor McLaws said she could envisage a situation where larger areas of Melbourne were locked down “because of the speed of which this is travelling through the hotspots”.
“But I’m also concerned that in this lockdown, or in this ring fencing, that people are allowed to go to work,” she said.
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