More deaths but Vic second wave stabilises

Victoria reported 12 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, taking the state's toll to 193.
Victoria reported 12 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, taking the state's toll to 193.

Victoria's second coronavirus wave is stabilising, according to authorities who expect case numbers to drop within the next two weeks.

The state recorded 466 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths on Saturday, with the latest victims a man in his 30s, two men in their 70s, two men and three women in their 80s and four females in their 90s.

Six of the deaths are connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities.

"We send our best wishes and condolences and sympathies to those families," Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday.

To date, 193 Victorians have died from coronavirus, while the national toll stands at 278.

On Wednesday, another man aged in his 30s became the youngest Australian to die from the disease.

The premier confirmed neither man was a healthcare worker, though it has been reported a young trainee doctor is among those fighting for life in intensive care.

The number of healthcare workers with the virus has also jumped by 140 since Friday, with a total of 998 active cases among the sector.

Nurses and aged care workers the most heavily represented.

The number of "mystery cases", which have no known links to clusters or confirmed cases, has also gone up by 130 to 2584.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the state was seeing some stabilisation in new case numbers but the figures were still too high.

"We are at 400-500 cases each day, more or less the average over the last week," he said.

"That is not good enough but it's a positive that we have averted an exponential increase through the last couple of weeks."

Professor Sutton said that the introduction of stage three restrictions in early July prevented 20,000 or more cases.

"But we can't have 500 cases every single day and the associated morbidity, hospitalisation, intensive care requirements and debts that are associated with that number every day," he said.

Only about 500 cases are in regional Victoria, which is under stage three restrictions.

Metropolitan Melbourne, meanwhile, has been under tough stage four restrictions, which include an 8pm to 5am curfew, since August 2.

He said the new restrictions, which run for six weeks, would reflect in a drop in cases in the next one to two weeks.

The state's reproduction rate of the virus has also lowered from 1.75 prior to stage three restrictions to 0.9.

"That 0.9 needs to be at 0.5. I think stage four restrictions will lead us in that direction. How fast we can get there is a matter for all of us as community members and our behaviours," Professor Sutton said.

The premier said he hoped the state's virus numbers will be under control by Christmas.

"What I would want to do is make sure there are as many people at Christmas dinner as possible," Mr Andrews said.

"Until we get the vaccine, it is going to be part of our lives, but it is not about going back to normal, it is about finding COVID-normal."

There are 636 Victorians in hospital with the virus including 44 in intensive care and 29 on ventilators.

According to the latest state government figures, there are seven people under the age of 50 in ICU including a child aged under nine.

Australian Associated Press