Victoria records 363 new cases, three deaths as virus spreads in aged care homes

More than 80 per cent of Victoria’s coronavirus cases since mid-May were spread at workplaces, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday as he announced 363 new cases and three deaths for the state.

There was significant transmission through the aged care sector where casual workers regularly moved from facility to facility, Mr Andrews said.

Victoria has now surpassed 5500 cases, with 5233 of those in Melbourne. There have been 38 deaths in the state.

On Sunday the Premier said the global pandemic had exposed the “big challenge” of a casualised workforce in which people didn’t have access to sick leave.

Victoria is struggling through a second wave of COVID-19. Picture : NCA NewsWire / Ian CurrieSource:News Corp Australia

In response, the Victorian and federal governments have unveiled a plan to aid the aged care sector that will provide funding to minimise staff moving between centres, as well as further infection control and increased testing.

“We know that we have a transient workforce, a casualised workforce, working across many aged care facilities,” Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.

“We have seen specific instances in recent days of staff who have worked across multiple facilities and then we have had multiple outbreaks across those facilities.”

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos shows her face mask. Picture : NCA NewsWire / Ian CurrieSource:News Corp Australia

Ms Mikakos stressed the importance of people not attending work if they have tested positive or had to self-isolate due to contact with a confirmed case, reminding casual workers of the $1500 hardship payment.

“This is a really important measure to ensure that people are not having to make a difficult choice between putting food on the table for their family or turning up for work when they are unwell,” she said.

Menarock Life Aged Care in Essendon, is part of an outbreak of coronavirus infections at multiple aged care homes across Melbourne. Picture: Ian CurrieSource:News Corp Australia

Victorians in the locked-down areas of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will also be required to wear masks or face coverings when outside of their homes from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Mr Andrews announced the rule on Sunday, saying residents who failed to comply would be hit with a $200 fine. It will apply to people aged 12 and older.

“Most of us wouldn’t leave home without our keys, we wouldn’t leave our home without our mobile phone. You won’t be able to leave home without your mask,” he said.

A masked man running through the Carlton Gardens. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

He stressed that the covering did not need to be a medical-grade mask but could be a scarf, bandana, or something similar.

The state’s new cases rose again to 363, following 217 on Saturday and 428 — the state’s worst daily case count — on Friday. Three more people, two men and one woman all in their 90s, have died.

Of the new cases, 36 are connected to known outbreaks and 327 are under investigation, Mr Andrews said.

The total active cases across Victoria is 2837, with 130 people in hospital and 28 in intensive care.

Of the state’s active cases, 287 are residents of various public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington.

Meanwhile 54 cases are residents of various public housing towers in Carlton.

Investigations are continuing into if and or how these cases are linked.

Health care workers account for 418 of Victoria’s total cases, with 166 of those active and largely acquired in the community.

Cases currently linked to key outbreaks:

- 169 cases have been linked to Al-Taqwa College

- 53 cases have been linked to Somerville Retails Services in Tottenham

- 35 cases have been linked to JBS in Brooklyn

- six cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac

- three cases have been linked to Australian Pharmaceuticals Industries in Dandenong

- three cases have been linked to Dairy Country in Tullamarine

- six cases have been linked to Goodman Fielder Pampas in West Footscray

- six cases have been linked to Warringal Hospital Heidelberg

- 10 cases have been linked to St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner

- 38 cases have been linked to Estia Health in Ardeer

- 24 cases have been linked to Glendale Aged Care facility in Werribee

- 12 cases have been linked to Embracia Aged Care Moonee Valley in Avondale Heights

- four cases have been linked to Japara Central Park Aged Care in Windsor

- Three new nursing homes have reported cases, with single cases now linked to Bluecross Ruckers Hill in Northcote, Villa Maria Catholic Homes in Alphington and Japara Highbury in Glen Waverley.

The top 10 cases by local government area:

1. Hume: 582 (300 active)

2. Wyndham: 526 (340)

3. Melbourne: 449 (299)

4. Brimbank: 440 (252)

5. Moonee Valley: 374 (225)

6. Moreland: 302 (158)

7. Whittlesea: 237 (148)

8. Banyule: 226 (124)

9. Melton: 210 (124)

10. Casey: 202 (70)