National

Virus takes heavy toll on Vic aged care

By AAP Newswire

It's likely to be weeks before COVID-19 starts to loosen its deadly grip on Victoria's aged care homes, after another 19 deaths across the state and 331 more cases.

All but five of the new deaths announced of Tuesday were also linked to aged care.

Victoria's death toll stands 246, with 151 of those from aged care homes.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told Victoria's Public Accounts and Estimates Committee on Tuesday it would likely be a couple of weeks before the number of aged care deaths started to decrease.

"There will be a time lag in terms of the number of fatalities and that will take longer," she said.

Since the start of the year, 2420 cases have been confirmed across the sector.

Just 582 of these patients have recovered. There are 122 aged care facilities with active cases.

Epping Gardens Aged Care has been linked to 193 cases, St Basil's Homes for the Aged at Fawkner to 174 cases, and the Estia Aged Care Facility at Ardeer to 147.

Kilsyth's Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes, Werribee's BaptCare Wyndham Lodge Community and the Outlook Gardens Aged Care Facility at Dandenong North have also been linked to more than 100 cases each.

Ms Mikakos and Premier Daniel Andrews faced a grilling from the parliamentary committee about the government's response to the pandemic.

They largely deflected questions about the state's botched hotel quarantine program - suspected to have sparked Victoria's second wave of cases - to a separate hotel quarantine inquiry.

That inquiry, headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate, is due to start public hearings on August 17.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told the committee that 20 deaths a day was "relatively modest" compared to what was happening in other parts of the world.

Victoria also recorded 19 deaths on Monday. One death in Victoria's overall numbers released Tuesday was removed because of duplication. Nationally, 331 Australians have died so far.

Of particular concern in Victoria are the numbers of so-called "mystery" cases that may indicate community transmission.

They are up 2903, an increase of 40 since Monday.

Of Victoria's 331 new cases, 91 are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 240 are under investigation.

There are 7880 cases active across the state, with 650 people in hospital and 43 of those in intensive care.

Six children aged under 10 are in hospital but not intensive care. A total of 820 cases have been confirmed in that age bracket.

Young people aged between 10 and 19 have made up 1530 of cases since the start of the pandemic, while 3610 have been confirmed in people aged between 20 and 29.

The government said there had been a downward trend in new case numbers over the last few days, linked to stage three restrictions and the introduction of masks.

It expected the effect of Melbourne's stage four lockdown will start showing up in next week's numbers.