Victoria recorded another 74 cases of coronavirus overnight, after a spike of 108 cases yesterday and more than two weeks of of new cases in at least the double digits.
But despite the slight drop in new cases, Premier Daniel Andrews takes no comfort in infection numbers returnig to the 70s, saying the state should brace for “big numbers in the days ahead”.
Announcing the new infections today, Mr Andrews said he is not calmed by the lower numbers today and fully expects infections to go up.
“Obviously 70 odd cases is better than 100,” Mr Andrews said in a press conference this morning.
“But we are going to see some big days, big numbers in the days ahead. You can’t go and test 3000 people in such a focused and concentrated way and not have numbers go up.”
The 3000 the Premier was referring to are those public housing residents who have been put into a “hard” lockdown in the city’s north.
At least 23 recorded cases have come from the towers, and authorities are aiming to test every single resident.
“We are testing absolutely everyone across all of those nine towers,” Mr Andrews said.
“We might be pleasantly surprised but I think it is far more likely that we are going to find what we’re looking for, and that is the strategy working.
“There is no point in not knowing about the virus out there, and then the only proxy measure becomes a number of people presenting at hospital for a machine to help them breathe.”
Four new COVID-19 cases have been found today across the nine tower blocks that are currently in “hard” lockdown.
Since the outbreak began, 13 cases have been diagnosed in the North Melbourne flats and 14 in Flemington, totalling 23 infections across the public housing cluster.
Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said he expected that to rise as residents were tested.
“If this had exploded within the towers, and there were literally hundreds and hundreds of people who became infected and they were going about their normal business, it would have spread beyond the postcodes even,” Prof Sutton said, when asked to justify the unprecedented move to detain people in their homes.
“So I think the early, if imperfect control, is the really key element here.”
Residents from the locked-down tower blocks still have the right to refuse testing, however Mr Andrews warned that it wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest to do so.
“In terms of anyone who refuses to be tested in an environment like this, I think there will be a very small number,” he said.
“My message to those residents is agree to the test, find out exactly how much viruses are in these towers.
“Then we provide care and support to those who need it and then we provide hard data, the facts of this matter, then we can make assessments about what the most appropriate restrictions are for the future.”
Originally published as Premier warns of ‘big numbers’ ahead