National record after Victoria reports 1838 new local COVID-19 cases

National record after Victoria reports 1838 new local COVID-19 cases

October 7, 2021

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Victoria has recorded 1838 local cases and five deaths on Friday morning, with defence staff and SES members set to be deployed to drive ambulances after record-breaking demand on the service.

There were 36,600 vaccination doses administered across Thursday, with more than 77,500 COVID-19 tests returned.

Melbourne CBD is pictured this week, deep in its sixth lockdown.Credit:Eddie Jim

Victoria has 16,823 active COVID-19 cases, with a record high daily case total reported on Friday.

The figures come after former Victorian police chief Graham Ashton announced a review into the state’s emergency call centre operator, which has been keeping triple-zero callers on hold due to the extraordinary level of demand for emergency support.

The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) has been beset of staffing issues and glitches to its operating system since late last year. The problems have coincided with an unseen volume of triple-zero callers, driven partly by the amount of Victorian who deferred care during lockdowns and ended up exacerbating their ailments.

Mr Ashton, who left the police force in 2020, will review ESTA’s functions and capabilities and report to the government with any recommendations by early next year.

Ambulance Victoria executive director of clinical operations Mick Stephenson said requests for ambulances had now climbed to record levels – in the last two weeks, the service reported four of its five busiest days in history, with similar demand to the deadly thunderstorm asthma event in 2016.

The steep demand for ambulances come as Victorian paramedics will begin being joined by a driver from the Australian Defence Force, St John Ambulance Australia, State Emergency Service, or student paramedics.

It’s the first time in Ambulance Victoria’s history two paramedics will no longer be deployed in each ambulance.

Two early learning centres, a Geelong arena and a popular coastal bakery have been listed as Victoria’s latest exposure tier-1 sites overnight.

Nido Early School in Airport West was visited by a person with COVID-19 on October 4, meaning children, staff and parents will be expected to isolate for 14 days and get tested as soon as possible.

Gippsland’s Drouin Primary Early Learning Centre, 90 kilometres east of Melbourne, was listed as a tier-1 exposure site for October 4.

Further regional Victorian exposure sites the RMIT Hanger at Bendigo Airport on October 4, and Seda College Geelong’s multi-use space at Geelong Arena on October 4.

Rolling Pin Pies & Cakes bakery in Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula was listed as a tier-1 exposure site on October 2.

International students could start returning to Victoria to study before the end of this year in a new plan floated by the state government.

Around 120 students will be able to return to the state each week in the first stage of the Andrews government scheme, with priority given to health and medical degrees which have a practical component, as well as those undertaking postgraduate research.

Students entering Victoria as part of the scheme will be in addition to the state’s existing overseas arrivals cap, meaning they will not take the place of returning citizens. Victorian universities will provide the funding for the extra quarantine spots.

Around 47,000 students are currently enrolled with Victorian education providers, but remain overseas due to closed Australian borders.

The Victorian government has submitted the plan to the Commonwealth for approval.

With Aisha Dow, Melissa Cunningham

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