Chief Health Officer Update 30 September

There were 9,458 COVID-19 cases reported in Victoria this week, down 5.5 per cent on the previous week. The average daily number of new cases this week was 1,351.

The number of active cases in Victoria is 8,056, down from a peak of 71,428 recorded on 23 July.

The 7-day rolling average of patients with COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals is 145, down 9.4 per cent when compared to the same time last week. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalised in the current wave peaked at 906 on 20 July.

There are currently 9 COVID-19 patients and 3 cleared cases in intensive care. There are 2 COVID-19 patients on a ventilator.

The 7-day rolling average of patients in intensive care in Victorian hospitals is 9.

In the past three months, 6,328 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised in Victoria. 44.2 per cent of these patients had not received their third vaccine dose. 1881 (29.7 per cent) were unvaccinated, 61 had received one dose, 852 had two doses, 1,947 had received three doses and 1,587 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 69.9 per cent of people aged 16 and over in Victoria have had their third dose.

Of Victorians aged 50 to 64 years, 79.7 per cent have had their third dose and 27 per cent have had their fourth dose. Of those aged over 65, 90.6 per cent have had their third dose and 65.5 per cent have had their fourth dose.

A total of 59 COVID-19 related deaths were reported to the Department in the past week. An average of 8 deaths were reported each day in the past week. The represents a 55.9 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 1,546 COVID-19 related deaths in Victoria. Of those deaths, 51.6 per cent had not received their third COVID-19 vaccine dose. 662 (42.8 per cent) were unvaccinated, 10 had received one dose, 125 had two doses, 327 had received three doses and 422 had received four doses.

The total number of COVID-related deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began is 5,664. The number of COVIDrelated deaths recorded in Victoria so far this year is 4,053.

COVID-19 epidemiological summary

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Victoria continues to decline to the lowest levels seen this year.

Similarly, hospitalisations, intensive care admissions and deaths from COVID-19 have significantly reduced.

Wastewater and genomic testing continue to show the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 sub-variants of COVID-19 remain the dominant strains in Victoria. Health authorities continue to closely monitor for the emergence of new variants, including BA.2.75 and BQ.1.1.

It is important that Victorians remain up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, get tested and stay home if you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, wear a good quality face mask if you are indoors in a public space or outside in a crowded space where you can’t physically distance and maintain good ventilation indoors.

Testing and treatment with COVID-19 medicines have been an important intervention that has likely contributed to our reduced number of hospitalisations and deaths. COVID-19 medicines are available if you test positive and people are encouraged to speak to their doctor about these treatments.

The Department of Health has developed an online tool to help people determine if they may be eligible for COVID19 medicines. This tool does not replace the advice of a GP, it is a guide only.

National Cabinet

Following National Cabinet’s decision to end COVID-19 isolation measures we will work through the implementation of these changes alongside other states and territories.

State-run testing sites to continue

Victoria’s network of state-run and private testing sites will be maintained until the end of the year, with rapid antigen tests continuing to be distributed free through testing sites.

RATs are also still being distributed free through education settings and a range of community outreach networks. Distribution will be expanded further in the coming months to include additional sites.

RATs remain the primary tool for detecting COVID-19 in Victoria to enable timely clinical care, including access to antivirals for those who are eligible.

PCR testing will continue to be prioritised for people at high risk of severe illness and other at-risk groups to enable quick diagnosis and access to additional care.

Updates to vaccination

Three paediatric vaccine delivery sites have been established to support the Commonwealth’s rollout of vaccines for children aged six months to under five years.

These clinics are at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Sunshine Hospital and the Monash Medical Centre and will be administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which is the first vaccine approved for use in Australia for this age group.

Four paediatric Victorian Specialist Immunisation Service (VicSIS) clinics will be established to provide specialist vaccination support and advice to children who have experienced difficulties with vaccination.

The four VicSIS clinics will be at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Sunshine Hospital, Monash Medical Centre and Barwon Health, and will open on Saturday 1 October 2022. VicSIS services will be available to all children aged up to 17 years.

The state’s nine mobile vaccination teams will increase their capacity by 50 per cent, as the final 12 fixed site vaccination clinics are decommissioned from close of business today, Friday 30 September.

With most Victorians choosing to get vaccinated at GPs and pharmacies, the number of vaccinations administered through the state-run system has fallen significantly, accounting for just 10 per cent of the total vaccines administered across the state this month.

More than 16.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Victoria since 22 February 2021, with more than 6 million provided by state-commissioned services. COVID-19 vaccines will remain free for all Victorians.

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