Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reported that there were nine deaths due to COVID-19 since yesterday at his daily press briefing at 12.45pm today (29 July). He said four of the deaths were linked to private sector aged care facilities.

Mr Andrews said two of those who had died were in their 90, three were in their 80s and one was in their 70s. He offered his condolences to the families. He said that the state had recorded 295 new cases.

He said 307 people were in hospital of whom 41 were in intensive care. There were a total of 4,775 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria of which 195 were in regional Victoria and the remainder were within the Melbourne Metropolitan area. Of the total, 769 cases were in aged care facilities and 414 were health care workers.

Over the last 24 hours 18,521 people had been tested for COVID-19, making it a total of 1,536 628 tests since January – one of the highest rates of testing in the world.

The premier said the key message was that “if you are sick, you should not go to work or to the shops but must get tested as soon possible and stay at home to await the results.” For those who tested positive, they should isolate for 14 days.

Recent outbreaks, he said, had been the result of people going to work despite showing symptoms.

The Department of Health and Social Services and members of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) were working together to send out 18 teams (of 58 people) to visit the homes of people who had tested positive. Mr Andrews said that as of Wednesday 90 people would be deployed to visit people in their homes who had tested positive.

“These visits are not just for compliance but tho help them to understand what they need to do and what can be done for them. The visits are also about offering support,” said Mr Andrews.

He said that 19 cases where there had been no response to door knocks had been referred to the police.

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Up to 1400 ADF members had been deployed in Victoria to help in the current situation.

Mr Andrews said that hospital nurses had filled in 400 shifts in an aged care sector which is faced with a report 30 percent drop in staff levels because of the COVID-19 crisis.

He said the task to fill in the 400 shifts was a massive one and praised health professionals for their dedication.

Work safe teams had carried out a “couple of hundred inspections” in work places and praised the efforts of private sector businesses in getting the message for people not to go to work if they experience any symptoms.

Mr Andrews  added that the State Control Centre was operational with state and Commonwealth staff working together. He added that there was an aged care response team within the centre.

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