Victoria records 92 new cases with one third not yet linked

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Victoria has recorded 92 new local cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with 31 of them not yet linked to the outbreak.

Sunday’s tally is the highest total since September 3 last year, when Victoria recorded 112 new cases in one day.

The Department of Health did not report how many new cases were in the community during their infectious period, with further information to be provided later this morning.

Sixty-one of the new cases announced on Sunday are connected to the current outbreak, which means 31 are mysteries.

There were 31,436 vaccination doses administered on Saturday, with more than 51,000 COVID-19 tests returned.

Victoria now has 778 active cases of the virus, with one additional new case discovered in hotel quarantine.

The number of exposure sites in Victoria has almost reached 900, with the latest sites of concern in Newport, Dandenong, West Melbourne, Hoppers Crossing, South Melbourne, Werribee and Tarneit.

A Dudley Street apartment complex in West Melbourne has been listed as a tier-2 exposure site for six full days, with some residents expected to be asked by the Health Department to isolate for a full 14 days.

The apartment complex, which is near the corner of Spencer Street, was listed between August 23 and August 28 after a case attended the building.

New tier-2 exposure sites – which require attendees to get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative test – include a 7-Eleven and Cellarbrations in Newport, a Chemist Warehouse and a Coles supermarket in Dandenong, and an IGA in Hoppers Crossing.

The growing exposure site lists comes after a senior government source, speaking anonymously to detail internal thinking, said there was no realistic prospect of the lockdown easing on Thursday.

Seven of the 10 Labor ministers and backbenchers who spoke to The Sunday Age said current settings – including a curfew and ban on playgrounds – should remain until no newly infected people spent any time infectious in the community.

But one Victorian minister said the government needed to consider which restrictions could be eased to reduce the financial and mental health burden on Victorians, if it became clear reducing cases to near zero was unachievable in the next few weeks.

A senior MP shared the same view, saying Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s public health team should determine the types of freedoms that would not “blow the place up” while cases were still being recorded.

“I don’t see us getting to zero,” the MP said, “so can we allow some limited things like allowing double-vaxxed people to visit loved ones or relatives in aged care under very controlled rules?”

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said on Saturday that Victorian health authorities were still committed to significantly reducing case numbers so that the state can leave lockdown.

“I think everything we’re striving to do in the response in this whole collective of state responses – if we can get this outbreak down, if we can get those mystery cases eradicated, if we can get every case into quarantine – that gives us options,” he said.

“It gives us options to ease restrictions to do other things.”

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