Chief Health Officer Update 27 January

There were 3,446 COVID-19 cases reported in Victoria this week, a decrease of 29.4 per cent on the previous week. The average daily number of new cases this week was 492, down from 702 last week.

The seven-day rolling average of patients with COVID in Victorian hospitals is 226. There are currently 161 COVID patients in Victorian hospitals, with 7 COVID patients in intensive care, including 4 cleared cases. There are 2 COVID patients on a ventilator. The seven-day rolling average of patients in intensive care in Victorian hospitals is 13.

In the past three months, 5,986 COVID patients were hospitalised in Victoria. Of those hospitalised, 41.2 per cent had not received their third vaccine dose and 30.8 per cent were unvaccinated.

Of Victorians aged 50 to 64 years, 80.1 per cent have had their third dose and 32.2 per cent have had their recommended fourth dose. Of those aged over 65, 90.9 per cent have had their third dose and 68.4 per cent have had their fourth dose. 70.5 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had three doses.

A total of 149 COVID-related deaths were reported to the Department in the past week. An average of 21 deaths were reported each day in the past week. This represents a 6.3 per cent decrease when compared to the same period the previous month.

The total number of reported COVID-related deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began is 7,116. This includes 173 historic COVID-related deaths, which occurred between March 2021 and June 2022. These deaths were added as the result of the Department’s regular data auditing process.

COVID-19 epidemiological summary

There has been a continued decline in COVID cases and hospitalisations declining this week. Sadly, COVID-related deaths remain high. As flagged in previous updates, an increase in reported deaths was expected following the recent periods of high transmission in the community.

Transmission is being driven by waning immunity and through multiple Omicron variants. The most recent wastewater analysis shows the recombinant strain XBF makes up the highest proportion of detections, accounting for 40 per cent of total detections.

There remain only two detected cases of subvariant XBB.1.5 in Victoria. While known to be one of the most immune-evasive subvariants to date, there has been no indication XBB.1.5 is any more severe than other Omicron variants.

RATs available through local councils

All Victorians are eligible to pick up two free packets of RATs through their local council.

The council RAT distribution program is currently operating across more than 200 local sites, such as libraries and council customer service centres. The program is now open to all Victorians with all eligibility requirements now removed.

Individuals can collect up to two packets for themselves plus up to two packets for each household member per visit while people with a disability or their carer can collect up to four packets of tests.

Testing, especially with any compatible COVID symptoms, is critical to help with early detection and to protect others. It also allows for appropriate care and timely treatment.

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