A Victorian man in his 20s has died from coronavirus making him the youngest victim in Australia.
State premier Daniel Andrews announced on Friday Victoria had recorded another 372 new coronavirus cases overnight and 14 deaths.
A man in his 20s, three women and two men in their 80s and four women and four men in their 90s were among the latest victims.
The figures take the state death toll to 289 and the national toll to 375.
Mr Andrews said 51 of the new cases were from unidentified sources, which was a concern.
‘Certainly we’ve seen a significant increase in the so-called mystery cases or cases of unknown acquisition.
‘About one in five or 20 per cent of cases are mystery cases or cases of unknown acquisition.’
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said a large proportion of mystery cases were linked to people in the 20 to 29 age bracket.
‘That’s largely because we are linking a lot of our elderly cases to known outbreaks, they are known to be in residential aged care and known to be in hospital clusters or outbreaks as well.’
Mr Sutton offered an explanation for the trend and said younger people were more active in the community.
‘They are more mobile probably, more essential activities for household, more engaged in the workforce, more opportunities for the age group to become infected and exposed to transmission.’
Mr Sutton said Victorians were still going to work despite showing cold or flu-like symptoms.
‘It’s still happening, it’s happening across workplaces. We’ve reinforced it at almost every press conference, you have to isolate with the first symptoms but we know people are challenged by dismissing those symptoms because it’s just a scratchy throat or the beginning of a cough or runny nose.’
The state government is now launching new testing sites at Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo after the towns collectively recorded more than 250 cases in the past 14 days.
This morning it was reported that ‘patient zero’ for the state’s deadly second wave was a hotel manager, not a security guard as previously thought.
Mr Andrews batted away questions when he was asked to confirm the reports.
‘I don’t have any advice about who that person might be,’ said Mr Andrews.
‘I think that whole notion that we could necessarily have to the degree of certainty clarity about one particular person, I don’t know the science would have led you to that.’
The Age newspaper is reporting leaked emails identify a night duty manager at one of the quarantine hotels in Melbourne’s CBD became infected on May 25, presumably catching the virus from a returned traveller.
Several security guards also caught the virus and spread it to their close contacts.
It later emerged guards had breached social distancing rules and some were accused of allowing separate families to play cards and even having sex with returned travellers.
It comes as Mr Andrews cops criticism over the state’s ‘woefully slow’ contract tracing regime.
Contact tracing is the process of interviewing infected people to find out who they have come into contact with while infectious.
Close contacts are then told to isolate in case they also have the disease.
Victoria’s tracing regime has faced criticism since July amid claims officials have been too slow to interview patients.
On Thursday Mr Andrews said that 99 per cent of close contacts of positive cases are being contacted with 48 hours.
But some Victorians believe this is not the case.
Brighton MP James Newbury told Daily Mail Australia that his constituents are ‘regularly waiting for days to receive testing results and are often given faulty advice.’
In another extraordinary bungle, he said one business owner received written confirmation that their COVID positive worker could return to work even though they were only half way through their two-week isolation period.
‘After the quarantine door was left open, Daniel Andrews oversaw a half baked contract tracing system that didn’t do much more than watch the second wave grow,’ Mr Newbury said.
‘Maybe the Victorian inquiry into quarantine should consider adding contract tracing to its review.’
Radio 3AW Mornings host Neil Mitchell also received messages from listeners saying the contract tracing regime was not working effectively.
‘The messages I’m getting tell me that’s fantasy,’ he said.
‘I know the system is overloaded. I know they’re trying hard, but there’s no point in pretending it’s working when it isn’t.
‘If it is not working well enough, and it isn’t, admit it and fix it!’
Mitchell spoke to one mother named Saarti who said she received conflicting text messages from health officials revealing that her son had been in contact with a positive case at school.
The first message named the wrong school, the second told her to ignore the first message and the third said her son should isolate for 14 days from 29 July.
But by the time she got that message, the 14 days was already over.