Chief Health Officer Update 28 October

There were 8,537 COVID-19 cases reported in Victoria this week, an increase of 24.7 per cent on the previous week. The average daily number of new cases this week was 1,220.

The number of active cases in Victoria also increased this week to 7,851, up from 5,915 at the same time last week.

The seven-day rolling average of patients with COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals is 172, a 20.3 per cent increase when compared to the same time last week. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalised in the BA.5 wave peaked at 906 on 20 July.

There are currently 7 COVID-19 patients and 1 cleared case in intensive care. There are 2 COVID-19 patients on a ventilator. The seven-day rolling average of patients in intensive care in Victorian hospitals is 6.

In the past three months, 4,585 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised in Victoria. 43.5 per cent of these patients had not received their third vaccine dose. 1,383 (30.2 per cent) were unvaccinated, 41 had received one dose, 571 had two doses, 1,262 had received three doses and 1,328 had received four doses.

94.8 per cent of people aged 12 and over in Victoria have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 70.1 per cent of people aged 16 and over in Victoria have had their third dose.

Of Victorians aged 50 to 64 years, 79.8 per cent have had their third dose and 28.2 per cent have had their fourth dose. Of those aged over 65, 90.7 per cent have had their third dose and 66.3 per cent have had their fourth dose.

A total of 51 COVID-19 related deaths were reported to the Department in the past week. An average of 7 deaths were reported each day in the past week. There has been a 54.6 per cent decrease in the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the past month when compared to the previous month.

In the past three months, there have been 1,100 COVID-19 related deaths in Victoria. Of those deaths, 49 per cent had not received their third COVID-19 vaccine dose. 440 (40 per cent) were unvaccinated, 5 had received one dose, 94 had two doses, 210 had received three doses and 351 had received four doses.

The total number of COVID-related deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began is 5,834. The number of COVID-related deaths recorded in Victoria so far this year is 4,225.

COVID-19 epidemiological summary

Reported COVID-19 cases in Victoria increased this week, with most cases being reported in people aged over 65. Hospitalisations, now a better indicator of disease activity than cases, increased at similar rates while cases in intensive care remained steady.

The increase in cases and hospitalisations, combined with an increase in the PCR positivity rate and antiviral prescriptions (up 8 per cent in the past week), suggest a moderate increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in the community. These indicators show we are at the start of another COVID-19 wave.

Victoria’s wastewater surveillance and clinical genomic testing program is actively tracking emerging Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and XBB, which are driving significant case and hospitalisation waves overseas due to their ability to escape immunity from past infection (including BA.5) and waning immunity from past vaccination.

Surveillance shows the presence of multiple Omicron subvariants in Victoria including rapid growth of BQ.1 and XBB in the past month, with a combined prevalence of approximately 10 per cent in wastewater and clinical samples.

Continued growth at these rates would see these subvariants overtake BA.5 as the dominant variant.

With case numbers on the rise locally and internationally, particularly in Europe and in south-east Asia, Victorians are reminded that vaccination, masks, ventilation, testing, staying home when sick and COVID-19 treatments are highly effective at reducing transmission, illness and deaths and also protect the health system.

If you don’t test, you can’t access important oral treatments including antivirals.

It is critical eligible Victorians remain up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Now is the perfect time to increase your protection. To find your nearest clinic and keep safe for summer, use the Vaccine Clinic Finder.

Floods impacting PCR testing sites

Heavy rains continue to impact both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria affecting the opening hours of some COVID-19 testing sites.

Please contact your nearest testing site directly to confirm current opening times. Testing site locations and contact information can be found at Get a COVID-19 test.

To access the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Victoria, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website

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