Victoria records 1935 new cases, 11 deaths

Victoria records 1935 new cases, 11 deaths

October 23, 2021

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Victoria has recorded 1935 local cases and 11 deaths in the past day, as schools prepare to begin a trial that would see students who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case able to return to classrooms after returning a negative rapid test.

Of the 787 people in hospital with the virus in Victoria, 146 are in an intensive care unit and 93 are on a ventilator.

Diners soaking up the atmosphere on Smith Street in Collingwood after being let out of lockdown this week. Credit:Joe Armao

There were 39,250 vaccination doses administered across Saturday and more than 69,600 test results returned. Victoria has just under 25,000 active cases.

The state’s latest tier-1 exposure sites announced overnight include a screen-printing business in the regional north-east, and a bar and telecommunications shop in northern Victoria.

Fobia Industries Benalla has been listed as a tier-1 exposure after a positive case visited between October 11 and October 15, and again on October 18 and October 19.

The Deck in Shepparton was listed as a tier-1 exposure site on October 19, while Telstra in Shepparton Marketplace was potentially exposed to the virus on October 18.

Sunday’s numbers come as a new trial looks to allow schoolchildren who are primary close contacts of a COVID-19 case return to the classroom if they record a negative rapid test result.

Selected schools will take part in the trial, according to a government source speaking anonymously because details have not been finalised, before the program is rolled out widely if the trial is successful.

The Victorian government hopes the pilot will pave the way for the widespread use of 15-minute rapid antigen tests across society to minimise the number of people quarantined and disruption caused by large cohorts being locked out of work, school and other daily activities.

The federal government is preparing to announce the companies it wants to kickstart mRNA vaccine manufacturing in Australia in coming weeks, with a final decision imminent.

Discussions with vaccine maker Moderna about making its COVID vaccine onshore have been under way for months, as has a separate process that could select a company already based in Australia, such as CSL. It is possible both Moderna and a second company could both be selected.

The decision will open the door to the development and manufacturing of the high-tech mRNA vaccines in Australia, including COVID-19 jabs, and position Australia as a leader in the ground-breaking technology.

More to come.

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