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Two Victorian grandmothers identified as latest victims of deadly coronavirus

Two grandmothers have been identified as the latest victims of the deadly coronavirus after a record seven deaths in Victoria.

Maria Vasilakis and Helen Alexiou, who were both in aged care homes, tragically died after contracting COVID-19. 

Victoria recorded 300 new coronavirus cases on Friday as the state continues to battle through a horror second wave.

A total of six deaths were announced, all linked to aged care, bringing the state’s death toll to 55.  

A further death was recorded later on Friday evening, bringing Victoria’ death toll to 56 and the national toll death to 140. 

The shocking death total is the largest of any state throughout the pandemic after New South Wales recorded five on 28 April and Victoria also recorded five on Thursday.

‘Our best wishes, our condolences, our thoughts and our prayers to the families of those six individuals,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned that more people could die from COVID-19 as cases are identified.  

‘I have always expressed concern about the fact that whether you have hundreds of new cases a day, there are several people expected to die in the following two-week period,’ he said.

There are currently 7,405 cases in the state with 206 Victorians in hospital including 41 in intensive care.

Mr Andrews announced ADF soldiers will door-knock residents who test positive to check they are isolating.

‘If for whatever reason you don’t answer the phone, then ADF personnel will be knocking on your door,’ he said.

If a person cannot be contacted after two phone calls within a two hour period, or they refuse to answer questions to contact tracing, they will be approached by ADF troops later that day. 

If there is not a good reason for absence, the person can be fined $1,652 for breaching public health laws.

Face masks are now mandatory for residents living in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire whenever they leave their homes. 

Regional Victorians are also encouraged to wear masks as a precaution. 

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said some people will be exempted from wearing face masks.  

‘A number are legitimately not able to wear masks so please don’t vilify individuals or don’t make the assumption they are simply stubborn,’ he said.

‘There will be people with medical, behavioural, psychological reasons … certainly don’t make an assumption that they should be the subject of your ire.’

Supermarkets such as Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, FoodWorks and IGA have also implemented new rules to refuse entry to shoppers who are not wearing a face mask. 

Premier Daniel Andrews revealed on Wednesday that nine in ten people were not self isolating in the period from when they first feel sick to when they’re tested.  

‘The key factor here that’s driving the numbers and driving our challenge is people that are sick but not getting tested,’ he said. 

‘They have gone out shopping. They have gone to work. They have been at the height of their infectivity, and they have just continued on as usual.’ 

Mr Andrews also revealed 53 per cent of people were not isolating from when they have their test taken until they receive the result.

‘A bunch of those will be aged care workers. Let’s not judge them. Let’s try and work out what is driving it,’ he said.

The statistics come from positive COVID-19 tests conducted between July 7 and July 21 in Victoria.

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