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Victoria records 357 new coronavirus cases and another six deaths

Victoria has recorded 357 new coronavirus cases and another five deaths on Saturday.   

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced just 37 coronavirus cases came from known outbreaks and another 320 have unknown sources.   

‘I’m very sad to have to report a further five Victorians have passed away, bringing the total to 61,’ Mr Andrews said.  

Four women each aged in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s have died as well as a man in his 90s.  

‘We send our condolences and our best wishes to each of those families, this will be a very difficult and challenging time for them,’ Mr Andrews said. 

It comes after Victoria recorded its deadliest day since the pandemic began on Friday, with seven deaths 

The national death toll has now risen to 145 and Victoria has a total of 3,995 active coronavirus cases.

Mr Andrews also revealed that 229 Victorians were in hospital and 42 of those are receiving intensive care. 

At least 536 active coronavirus cases have emerged from aged care settings across 38 different homes.  

Infections are evenly split between staff and residents and at least 313 health workers are infected with the virus.    

Mr Andrews said he was working with the federal government to tackle the virus and explained aged care homes posed a ‘really challenging setting’.

‘We see that both in terms of the number of cases and also the number of people who are by the very nature of these settings frail and aged. 

‘It is a very, very challenging environment and I want to send my support and assurance to all families and staff, all of those involved in aged care, that many different steps have been taken, processes have been put in place,’ he said. 

The premier also condemned people who were ‘making the wrong choices’, after a series of viral videos showed Victorians ignoring lockdown restrictions.

‘They are selfish choices… These rules will be in place longer if people continue to behave that way.’ 

‘I am not really fussed what reason motivates you to do the right thing, you have just got to do the right thing,’ he said. 

Mr Andrews encouraged Victorians to abide by the mandatory rule to cover their faces whenever they were outdoors.   

‘Masks are effectively our stage four.

‘If they are worn by everybody, we may not need to go further. We can’t rule out going further with rule changes, but it’s a big game changer,’ he said.   

Mr Andrews said the Australian Defence Force were playing an important role in enforcing compliance and tracking coronavirus cases. 

‘The principal reason that ADF members will be knocking on your door will be because you have got the virus and you have not picked up your phone.

‘We haven’t been able to connect with you. So that infection control is important in every setting.’ 

Members of the defence force have also been deployed to patrol the streets of Melbourne and ensure coronavirus rules are followed. 

Victoria conducted 20,313 coronavirus tests on Friday.   

There are now fears that coronavirus will cause a catastrophic crisis in aged care homes, after another centre in Box Hill, east Melbourne, reported an infection.  

Uniting AgeWell Box Hill is conducting a deep clean after the staff member last worked on July 17 the Herald Sun reported.     

The employee was wearing a mask and had not been in direct contact with any of the residents.   

Chief executive officer Andrew Kinnersly said the centre was deep cleaning two wings and staff areas in a letter to the facility’s families. 

He said the risk to residents was relatively low and all staff and residents would be tested for coronavirus.  

‘We know that you will be understandably concerned and anxious on hearing this news.  

‘We have been in contact with the Department of Health and the Public Health Unit and have requested COVID-19 testing be undertaken for all residents and staff as a precautionary measure,’ the letter read.    

The aged care home will remain closed to all visitors pending the results. 

‘All infection control measures will remain in place until test results are known,’ Mr Kinnersly said.  

St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner, north Melbourne, has been inundated by 74 cases and residents were shifted out by emergency teams on a case-by-case basis on Saturday.  

There have also been 71 cases of coronavirus linked to Estia Health home in Ardeer, 46 cases connected to Glendale Aged Care in Werribee and 44 linked to Estia Health in Heidelberg.    

Metropolitan Melbourne is currently in a strict stage three lockdown and residents may only leave their homes for essential reasons. 

These include to exercise, access healthcare or purchase supplies. 

It is also mandatory to wear a face covering outdoors in Melbourne unless you are exercising or have a valid medical condition.  

Anyone failing to cover their face is subject to a $200 fine.  

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