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Another 177 cases in Victoria

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Victoria has recorded 177 new coronavirus cases, with the state now recording up to five new outbreaks a day.

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Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Monday one of the new cases is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, 25 are connected to known outbreaks and 151 remain under investigation.

The state now has 1612 active cases, with 72 people in hospital and 17 of those in intensive care.

Andrews said the virus had taken the lives of otherwise healthy people of all age groups.

“The notion this is simply something that will be tragic if you’re very ill already and very old, that is simply not right,” he said.

“This can have catastrophic outcomes, tragic outcomes for people who are otherwise healthy and people in any age group.”

The new figure comes after the state experienced three consecutive days of case numbers exceeding 200.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he had a “small bit of optimism” looking at Monday’s numbers, but would like to see a week of decreasing cases.

“I’m not going to be complacent about today’s number. It’s great it’s lower than our peak. But it may not be our peak yet,” he said.

Professor Sutton said the state was seeing “four or five new outbreaks every day”.

An outbreak at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina is the state’s largest cluster, now totalling 144 cases.

Clusters in aged care have also grown, with the Menarock Life aged care home in Essendon now totalling 26 cases, with both staff and residents infected.

An outbreak at Glendale Aged Care in Werribee is now at 13 cases, while Japara Central Park Aged Care in Windsor has had two positive cases.

Professor Sutton says it is not surprising to see aged care homes affected by the virus.

“The vast majority have involved one or sometimes two staff and no residents,” he said.

“That’s a measure of staff identifying themselves as soon as they become unwell and very extensive testing of residents in lockdown.”

He said aged care residents were “critically vulnerable” to the disease.

Meanwhile, the state government is rolling out a digital youth mental health program by Orygen in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, at a cost of $6 million.

The program, called Moderated Online Social Therapy, will particularly be made available to young people living in the public housing towers.

“It’s not an app, it’s a real-world provision of services that meet the needs of mildly or acutely unwell young people to get the support they need in a safe and indeed sometimes quicker way,” Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said.

-AAP

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