Coronavirus update for Victoria 29 June

There are 463 COVID-19 cases in hospital in Victoria – with 17 active cases in ICU, including 7 on a ventilator, and an additional 8 cleared cases in ICU.

6,278,547 vaccine doses have been administered by Victoria’s state-commissioned services, with 796 doses administered yesterday at state-run centres.

68.3 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have had three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. 94.6 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have had two doses.

10,777 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded yesterday. This includes 6,498 who tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test and 4,279 who returned a positive result on a PCR test. This is the first time Victoria has recorded more than 10,000 cases in a day since 2 June this year.

Sadly, the Department was notified of 23 deaths yesterday of people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. This brings the total number of deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began to 3,905.

There are 46,010 active cases in Victoria.

19,096 PCR tests were processed yesterday. The total number of PCR tests performed in Victoria since the pandemic began is 21,410,821.

Updates

Omicron BA.4/BA.5 likely to become dominant strain in Victoria

The prevalence of Omicron strain BA.4/BA.5 in Victorian metropolitan and regional wastewater catchments continues to rise significantly which is indicating increasing transmission of this sub-lineage in the community.

The BA.4/BA.5 sub-lineage was first identified in catchments in April and has since risen from under five per cent in late May to an average of approximately 40 per cent across all wastewater catchments by 23 June.

BA.4/BA.5 is expected to overtake the BA.2 strain to become the dominant strain in Victoria.

This is in line with similar patterns in NSW and Queensland where both states have seen a significant rise in the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 during June.

The Department of Health anticipates the prevalence of BA.4/BA.5 in Victoria is likely to result in an increase in cases – including reinfections – and hospital admissions and deaths. This is because the strain has a greater ability than BA.2 to evade immunity provided by vaccination and earlier COVID-19 infection.

There is no evidence at this stage that the BA.4/BA.5 sub-lineage causes more severe disease, but the Department is closely monitoring the situation.

The Department strongly encourages Victorians to remain up to date with their vaccines, and to stay home if unwell and test for COVID-19.

Masks are strongly recommended in shared indoor settings; if you can’t physically distance; or you are with those more vulnerable to COVID-19. Improve ventilation by opening doors and windows, using fans or purifiers, and gathering outside where possible.

Face masks are still required for everyone aged 8 and above in some locations, including on public transport, rideshares and taxis, and in sensitive settings such as hospitals and care facilities. They are also required by household contacts in quarantine who meet the criteria for leaving home.

If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, report your result to ensure you have access to the right level of care if you need it. Report your positive RAT.

COVID-19 medicines are available for eligible Victorians at increased risk of severe illness if they are infected with COVID-19. If you are eligible for early treatment and you develop symptoms, get tested as soon as you can and consult your GP or GP respiratory clinic so you can get access to medicines, which are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

These antiviral medications reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, make the need for hospitalisation less likely, and reduce the risk of loss of life from COVID-19.

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