Victoria COVID cases grow by 40,127, 21 recorded deaths; vaccine mandates to take effect at midnight

Registrations for the program open on January 17.

“With extensive training and supervision, we are helping 1,000 Victorians in relevant fields receive the training they need to participate in our vaccination efforts,” said Mr Merlino, who as the state’s education minister emphasized that the school year is plan would begin, on January 31.

He said the remaining 30,000 air purifiers promised to schools in Victoria would be delivered in the coming weeks, “even if I have to get in a truck to deliver them myself”.

“More than 20,000 have been delivered. We have the next three weeks where we will deliver the remaining part of that 51,000,” said Mr. Merlino. “That’s the commitment we made.”

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Health Department deputy secretary Naomi Bromley said complex technical or clinical elements would be reserved for professionals at vaccination sites.

Mr Merlino said authorities are looking at “system-wide approaches” to address pressures on healthcare staff.

He said Victoria’s Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority would recruit 43 additional full-time equivalents to bolster its ranks.

Ambulance Victoria has had two “code red” warnings in the past week. At least seven out of every ten calls to Victoria’s triple-zero service on some services in recent weeks went unanswered. It is suspected that the deaths or serious injuries of as many as a dozen people in recent months could be linked to delays in answering calls.

Wednesday’s numbers showed 946 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, a historic record for Victoria after the previous record, 861, was set on Tuesday.

There were 112 people in intensive care and 31 people on a ventilator.

Health authorities were notified Tuesday of the deaths of 21 Victorians aged 40 and older, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the state to 1,614.

Wednesday was one of the deadliest days in the country since the start of the pandemic, with 49 deaths across the country. Earlier in the week there were some fatalities, but those were officially reported in Wednesday’s figures.

The last time Australia recorded such a high number of fatalities in one day was on September 4, 2020, during the country’s second wave, when authorities recorded 59 deaths. However, most of these related to the delayed reporting of 50 deaths in aged care that occurred in the previous two months.

The national number of new cases reported also rose from over 90,000 on Tuesday to the top 100,000 on Wednesday, including 34,759 in NSW.

New pandemic orders coming into effect in Victoria at 11:59pm on Wednesday will significantly alter COVID-19 protocols for critical workers, visitors to aged care facilities and hospitals, and hospitality establishments.

Coronavirus booster vaccines will be mandatory for critical workers, including those in health and aged care, disability care, emergency services, correctional facilities, hotel quarantine and food distribution.

Workers already eligible for their booster injection have until February 12 to receive it, while those not yet eligible have three months and two weeks from their second dose deadline.

Workers in the production, packaging and distribution of food and beverages – including supermarket workers – will be allowed to continue working after being in close contact with a COVID-19 case under the new orders.

Farming groups have called on employees of food supply chain companies to gain priority access to rapid antigen testing, which remains in short supply.

Under the new regulations, aged care centers must request RAT results from those who visit their residents. A limit of five daily visitors per resident will remain in effect, but if a visitor does not return a negative RAT result, their host will be limited to two visitors.

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Hospital visitors must prove that they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine before entering, or, if not fully vaccinated, return a negative rapid antigen test and wear an N95 mask.

Indoor dance floors at hospitality and entertainment venues also close at 11:59 PM, with the exception of those at weddings.

Authorities continue to encourage Victorians to receive their booster dose as soon as possible. The proportion of the state’s population that is over the age of 18 and has received the injection stands at 18 percent.

Another 24,547 Victorians rolled up their sleeves to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a state-run clinic on Tuesday, while 61,630 coronavirus tests were processed at PCR sites.

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