Bass Coast 5 new cases, South Gippsland 6

A RELATIVELY high number of COVID-19 test results on Wednesday, December 8 of 79,490 produced 1312 new cases state-wide in Victoria of which six were in South Gippsland and five in Bass Coast.

For all that, the numbers of active cases in Gippsland continued to slide, down to 298 on December 8 after being at 388 on December 5.

The Local Government Area showing the most improvement is Latrobe City, down to just 37 active cases overall and an additional two cases on Wednesday on the back of one of the highest vaccination rates in the state, more than 95% double dose.

It’s quite a turnaround for an LGA that had one of the lowest vaccination rates in regional Victoria a few months ago.

But were not out of the woods yet with the Omicron variant already on the march in Victoria (see Department of Health daily update below) and calls for the community to redouble their COVID-safe practices and to get tested at any sign of symptoms.

Here is the COVID-19 status of Gippsland’s LGAs:

* Bass Coast 37 active, 5 new

* Baw Baw 107 active, 10 new

* East Gippsland 53 active, 2 new

* Latrobe City 37 active, 2 new

* South Gippsland 22 active, 6 new

* Wellington 42 active, 4 new.

Yesterday, 3858 vaccine doses were administered by Victoria’s state-commissioned services.

The total number of doses administered through state-run services is 4,875,887 which means 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.

There are 303 COVID-19 cases in hospital in Victoria – 51 active cases in ICU, with 27 of those on a ventilator. There are an additional 46 cleared cases in ICU.

Of those in hospital, 62 per cent were not fully vaccinated and of those in ICU 84 per cent were not fully vaccinated.

Victoria was notified of 1312 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. All cases were locally acquired

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

There are 11,331 active cases in Victoria.

Sadly, the Department was notified yesterday of five deaths of people aged in their 80s and 90s. This brings the total number of deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began to 1390.

Of those total number of deaths in the current outbreak, 76 per cent were not fully vaccinated, meaning that almost a quarter of the deaths were fully vaccinated.

A total of 79,490 COVID-19 tests were reported on Wednesday. There are currently more than 25,800 active primary close contacts in isolation in Victoria.

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.

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 COVID-Safe behaviours such as wearing masks and checking in.