Victoria's second wave of coronavirus infections has continued with new daily case numbers in the hundreds as Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire remain in lockdown.
The surge in COVID-19 claimed two lives on Tuesday, with 270 new cases recorded amid calls to further protect the community.
A man and a woman in their 80s died in hospital, taking the state's death toll to 26 and the national toll to 110 amid fears more could follow.
The number of people in hospital in Victoria rose from 72 on Monday to 85 on Tuesday, with 26 in intensive care and 21 on ventilators to help them breathe.
Sixteen of the 26 people in intensive care are over 60 years of age, and the spread of the virus has prompted calls to better protect the elderly.
Up to 80 staff and residents at aged care homes across Victoria have tested positive to the virus, including 28 people at Menarock Aged Care in Essendon.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Victoria called on the federal government to direct private providers to increase their number of nursing, personal care, cleaning and support staff.
Government advice has been for staff at aged care facilities to wear masks and limit movement between residences.
The use of face masks has also been recommended across Victoria when social distancing is not possible, and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union is campaigning to promote the wearing of masks across the public transport network.
Meanwhile, a further 1000 Australian Defence Force personnel will head to Victoria to help its growing struggle with coronavirus, including riding with paramedics.
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Ambulances will be staffed by a paramedic and an ADF member to bolster staff numbers, help at scenes and drive.
The Victorian Ambulance Union said it was wise the government was looking at possible contingencies now, but expressed concerns over training and familiarity with ambulance equipment and driving.
"We are hoping that we don't get to the stage where we need to rely on the ADF," Victorian Ambulance Union General Secretary Danny Hill told AAP.
However if we have a lot of paramedics become unwell or quarantined then we may need those contingencies
"However if we have a lot of paramedics become unwell or quarantined then we may need those contingencies."
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