Department of Health

Coronavirus update for Victoria - 18 July 2022

18/07/22

COVID-19 Data

There are 821 COVID-19 cases in hospital in Victoria – with 30 active cases in ICU, including 9 on a ventilator, and an additional 5 cleared cases in ICU.

6,297,247 vaccine doses have been administered by Victoria’s state-commissioned services.

68.8 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. 94.7 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have had 2 doses.

10,251 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded yesterday. This includes 8,212 who tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test and 2,039 who returned a positive result on a PCR test.

Sadly, the Department was notified of 18 deaths yesterday of people aged in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s. The total number of deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began is 4,190. The number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in Victoria so far this year is 2579.

There are 64,365 active cases in Victoria. 

10,790 PCR tests were processed yesterday. The total number of PCR tests performed in Victoria since the pandemic began is 21,643,246.

Updates

Third Omicron wave with BA.4/BA.5 now dominant in Victoria

The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which are now dominant across Australia, are expected to continue to cause increases in new cases, reinfections and hospital admissions.

Since 22 June, there has been a 99 per cent increase in Victorians in hospital with COVID-19, a 60 per cent increase in ICU admissions due to COVID-19 and a 47 per cent increase in healthcare workforce furlough.

The rate of BA.4/BA.5 in clinical genomic surveillance and metropolitan and regional wastewater catchments continues to rise significantly. BA.4/BA.5 have become the dominant strains in clinical genomic samples, rising to 82 per cent in the two weeks prior to 17 July.

The BA.4/BA.5 sub-lineages were first identified in Victorian wastewater catchments in April and have since risen from under 5 per cent in late May to an average of 75 per cent across all catchments by 11 July.

New infections and admissions to hospital with COVID-19 are increasing in Victoria, consistent with national and international trends. This is because the strains have a greater ability than BA.2 to evade immunity provided by vaccination and earlier COVID-19 infection. There is no evidence at this stage that the BA.4/BA.5 sub-lineages cause more severe disease but the Department continues to monitor the situation.

This 3rd wave of the Omicron variant is expected to peak in August. The impact of this can be reduced through immediate preventative measures such as wearing a mask in indoor and crowded settings. Wearing masks when indoors outside your home helps protect yourself, your family, and your community. It will also protect our health system and support our front-line healthcare workers by reducing COVID-19 cases in the community and reducing pressure on GP practices and our hospitals. Every Victorian who wears a mask when out and about is helping our healthcare workers.

Additionally, when meeting others or in shared indoor areas, take steps to improve ventilation by opening doors and windows, using portable HEPA filters where available or preferably meeting outside.

Testing, treatment and vaccination

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and get tested as soon as possible. A rapid antigen test is the quickest and most accessible way to get tested for most people.

If you test positive inform your contacts and, if eligible for COVID-19 medicines, contact a GP to ensure you access these as soon possible.

If you test negative on a RAT but have symptoms, stay home until your symptoms have improved and, if you are at higher risk of becoming severely unwell – get a PCR test.

The eligibility criteria for COVID medicines have been recently broadened. More information can be found at COVID-19 treatments and at COVID-19 Medicines.

Eligibility for winter booster doses has also been broadened, and this remains the most important protection against becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19. To find a vaccination provider near you, use the Australian Government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder.

Update to pandemic orders

Sensible changes to pandemic orders and public health recommendations came into effect at 11:59pm on Tuesday 12 July, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure Victorians are aware of proactive steps they can take to look after themselves and each other.

In line with AHPPC advice, the period when someone is considered a recently confirmed case (and therefore exempt from testing and isolation/quarantine requirements) has been revised to four weeks (28 days from the end of their isolation date), down from 12 weeks. This reflects the emerging evidence that new variants of COVID-19 can evade prior immunity gained from infection.

Positive cases are still required to isolate for seven days from the day they took their test but an additional reason to leave home has been added – to provide transport for a household member to obtain food, if essential. The infected person will need to remain in the car and wear a face covering at all times.

The Minister for Health has requested that employers consider working from home arrangements that are most appropriate for their workplace and employees based on individual requirements.

More information can be found at COVID Advice for Victorians to stay well in winter

To access the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Victoria, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website or call the 24-hour Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can also call the Victorian Aboriginal COVID Information Line on 1800 312 911. Callers will speak with Aboriginal staff who can answer questions about COVID-19 and direct them to relevant support services. The information line is open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week.

Reviewed 18 July 2022

Health.vic

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