Department of Health
This Chief Health Officer update is intended to provide clinicians and the Victorian public with information about the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria as well as relevant public health response activities. Chief Health Officer Alerts will continue to be issued when there are changes to the public health advice related to COVID-19.

8/12/2021

What’s new

Victoria was notified of 1,312 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. All cases were locally acquired.

There are 11,331 active cases in Victoria. The total number of confirmed cases in Victoria since the beginning of the pandemic is 131,325.

Sadly, the Department was notified yesterday of five deaths of people aged in their 80s and 90s.

The 10 Local Government areas with the highest number of new cases are Hume, Brimbank, Casey, Whittlesea, Melton, Kingston, Moreland, Monash, Wyndham and Boroondara.

Updates

Confirmed Omicron Case in Hotel Quarantine

Following whole genomic sequencing, the case in Hotel Quarantine reported yesterday has been confirmed as having the Omicron variant.

Cases Under Investigation in the Community

The Department of Health is leading a strong outbreak response into the following likely Omicron cases recently detected in the community.

Two cases have returned results with S gene dropout - a signature of the Omicron variant.

Cases have been identified in the cities of Casey and Brimbank. Household contacts of these cases have also tested positive and whole genome sequencing is underway to confirm whether these represent the Omicron variant.

None of these cases are linked to international travel and their source of acquisition is under investigation.

The Department has interviewed the cases and is taking a conservative approach to the designation of their contacts, including in non-household settings.

A number of contacts have been identified and instructed to quarantine for 14 days. Other people of lower risk have been instructed to get a test and isolate until they receive a negative result. Further contact tracing work is ongoing and is likely to produce more contacts.

As was previously announced before the emergence of the Omicron variant, most people who come into contact with a confirmed case outside their home won’t have to self-quarantine, but “the Department of Health will continue to manage emerging outbreaks of concern and ‘superspreader events’ and can impose a quarantine period on contacts on a case-by-case basis, depending on evidence.”

If you are contacted by the Department with special advice – or you receive an SMS advice to get tested or quarantine after visiting a high-risk venue – you are required to follow this advice.

Should genomic sequencing results indicate a case does not have the Omicron variant, the Department may retract close contact advice and provide updated advice to contacts. If you are in this situation, please await direct advice from the Department.

To see the testing and quarantine requirements for international travellers entering Victoria, visit Information for overseas travellers.

All Victorians can play their part in reducing the spread of Omicron – or any other variant – by getting tested the moment they notice symptoms or as soon as they are told they are a contact, and practicing COVIDSafe behaviours such as wearing masks and checking in.

Vaccines

Yesterday, 3,858 vaccine doses were administered by Victoria’s state-commissioned services. The total number of doses administered through state-run services is 4,875,887.

94.1 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 91.6 per cent have had two doses. This excludes the most recent Commonwealth data.

Victorians are encouraged to book their COVID-19 vaccination through their local GP or community pharmacy, community health service or state vaccination centre. To find a GP or pharmacy provider and make a booking, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Testing

79,490 COVID-19 tests were processed yesterday. The total number of tests performed in Victoria since the pandemic began is 15,654,591.

Advice for cases and contacts

Helpful information is available online for cases and household, social, workplace, education and other contacts.

See the checklists and recommend them to your patients.

General advice

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and loss or change in sense of smell or taste. If you are experiencing symptoms, wear a fitted face mask when you get tested.

The Department publishes expected wait times at testing sites as well as updated information about locations and hours of operation at Where to get tested.

For more information call the 24-hour Coronavirus Hotline at 1800 675 398 or visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria.

Current advice to clinicians

Notifications to the department of a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 can be done online. You can submit an online form to our public health team, rather than calling us, saving you time and resolving your case load more efficiently.

COVID-19 testing criteria

Practitioners should test any patients who meet the clinical criteria below:

  • Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation* OR
  • Acute respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss or changes in sense of smell or taste)
  • Note: testing is also recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19** AND who are from the following cohorts: close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19; those who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days; or those who are healthcare or aged care workers. Testing is recommended for those cohorts with onset of other clinical symptoms**. Asymptomatic testing is not recommended at this stage except for targeted programs.
  • *Clinical discretion applies including consideration of the potential for co-infection (e.g. concurrent infection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza)
  • **headache, myalgia, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.

Clinical information

Online resources

Mental health resources

  • Many Victorians are feeling fatigued, isolated or lonely. If you need support for your mental health there are mental health resources you can access.
  • If Victorians are not safe at home, they can seek help and support at an Orange Door or other family violence support service. If you or someone you know is at risk or experiencing family violence, call 000 in an emergency or Safe Steps 24/7 crisis service on 1800 015 188.
  • The Partners in Wellbeing helpline (1300 375 330) is able to provide phone support to any Victorian who has been impacted by COVID-19 aged 16 and up, including from people who identify as LGBTIQA+, multicultural, Veterans, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and international students. This free and confidential service also provides specialist support for small businesses which includes business advisory and financial counselling.

Consumer information

Contacts

Medical practitioners needing clinical information or to notify confirmed cases can contact the Department of Health Communicable Diseases Section on 1300 651 160 (24 hours).

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Reviewed 08 December 2021

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