THE State’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has urged Victorians to wear masks when they visit indoor locations such as supermarkets, home visits, hairdressers, hospitals, aged care facilities… anywhere indoors when you’re not eating.

But, speaking at the Saturday, July 18 COVID-19 briefing he also expressed relief that the daily number of positive cases dropped from 428 on Friday to 217 today.

“It’s a relief for me to see these figures today, much better than a number above 400 but it’s still a high number and over the course of the next days and weeks we will see people hospitalised and very unwell from these numbers,” Professor Sutton said.

It was also revealed that while regional cases have remained low, two regional aged care facilities have been added to the long list of aged care facilities with patients or staff testing positive to coronavirus.

Minister for the Coordination of Health and Human Services, Jenny Mikakos revealed that those cases were revealed in aged care facilities at Bendigo and Ballarat but that the threat of infection remained strong for all aged care facilities in the state.

She welcomed the announcement by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt that supplies of free face masks would be made to all aged care facilities.

The day’s briefing also revealed a case of coronavirus at the Australian Lamb Company in Colac.

“It’s a single case but we are aware of the risks in that industry,” Minister Mikakos said.

“There’s some issue with refrigeration that may create issues which we have seen in the US and we have undertaken testing and will continue to work with the meat sector.”

The Premier Daniel Andrews was also asked whether it’s time to introduce a hard border between metro areas and regional areas however while he said he would take advice on the need for such a measure if it was given, it represented a big logistic exercise.

“The message is don’t go outside your local area unless you have to. Some parts of regional Victoria have very few cases, some have no cases and we want to keep it that way.”

That’s why he said regional health teams, to undertake testing, tracing and isolation measures were being stood up in regional areas, to protect those communities.

By the numbers

* 217 new cases on Saturday, July 18, 2020

* 205 of unknown origins

* 2608 active cases in Victoria

* 5353 total positives

* Two more have died bringing to 34 the number who have died in the state

* 28,104 more tests, 1,278,512 tests in total since January 2020

* Reduction in numbers in hospital down 12 to 110, in ICU down 6 to 25 and on ventilators down 4 to 18 but 11 more health workers tested positive bringing to 405 the number that have tested positive