400 Victorian health workers now have COVID-19 as state reports record case numbers
27 July 2020, Written by Matt Ogg
"The lockdown will not end until people stop going to work with symptoms," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Victoria crossed the 500-mark for new daily COVID-19 cases today while 16 people in the state have passed away due to the virus in the past 48 hours.
There have been six deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, following the deadliest day yet for the state yesterday.
Premier Daniel Andrews reported 532 new cases this morning, taking the total number of active cases in Victoria to 4,542 of which around 400 are health workers.
There are now 245 people with COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals, including 44 in intensive care.
Almost 700 active cases are currently connected in some way to aged care, and after detailing the numbers from various facilities the state's chief health officer Brett Sutton said it was difficult to read them out without considering the residents "will be people's parents, grandparents, great grandparents and they are at significant risk of dying".
"That's an an inescapable fact. In these settings where there are outbreaks in aged care, the mortality is extremely high," Sutton said.
Premier Andrews emphasised the biggest driver of COVID-19 transmission and numbers going up was people going to work when they had symptoms.
"If you are sick, even mildly, you just can't go to work. The only thing you can do is get tested - the only thing you can do is then wait at home," he said.
"If you are [COVID-19] positive then you'll need to be at home for that 14-day period."
Andrews has received feedback that some people are very reticent to discuss symptoms or a positive diagnosis with family members, but he said people shouldn't see a positive test as a reflection on themselves
"This does not discriminate. No one will be criticised or judged for doing the right thing. That's exactly what we want to see happen," he said.
Victorian residents who are in financial distress and are concerned about taking time of work to get tested can call 1800 675 398 to receive an emergency Worker Support Payment.
"We have support in place. A $300 payment and then a further $1,500 payment if you are positive and need to isolate for that two-week period," he said.
Meanwhile, in New South Wales there were 17 new cases in the past 24 hours, of which eight were from hotel quarantine, eight were from known sources and one is under investigation.
There has been one more case linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Potts Point, a sister venue of the Thai Rock in Wetherill Park where there have been three new cases.
101 people are now being treated for COVID-19 by NSW Health, including five people in intensive care and one person on a ventilator.
A common theme in the NSW and VIC press conferences was business compliance with COVID-Safe practices, given workplaces are also a key driver of transmission.
"We've had nearly 150 additional inspections - in-person, on-site inspections - in a whole range of different higher-risk settings over the last week," Victorian Premier Andrews said.
"In the main those WorkSafe inspectors have have have found employers to be doing the right thing, employees to be doing the right thing; people taking this very, very seriously," he said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was really important for people to stay vigilant, but there has been a "marked improvement" in businesses being COVID-Safe.
"But we still have more to do. The rules came in on Friday and there has been a marked improvement, but our compliance officers and the police will be ever vigilant to clamp down any businesses that aren't COVID-Safe, but also on patrons who are doing the wrong thing," she said.
"At the end of the day it's up to all of us to keep getting tested if we have the mildest symptoms."
Updated at 11:55am AEST on 27 July 2020.
Author: Matt Ogg