Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has reiterated that the “biggest challenge” Victoria is facing amid its surge of coronavirus cases is the number of infections with no known source.
Speaking at Sunday morning’s briefing, Mr Andrews said there were 2758 such “mystery cases” across the state, an increase of 174 from Saturday.
“That’s 174 of those mystery cases which are, in many respects, our biggest challenge,” he said.
“Even large numbers in known, contained outbreaks are, to a certain extent, less significant than the smaller number of cases where we simply can’t find the circumstance or the point of origin.
“Where did that person get the virus from? They’re the ones that are incredibly challenging from a containment point of view, and that’s what has made fundamentally necessary these really challenging settings, these really difficult decisions we’ve had to make to drive down movement, and therefore, drive down the number of cases.”
There were 394 new infections identified on Sunday – the lowest number since July 29.
But Mr Andrews also revealed there had been 17 deaths, two more than the previous record of 15, set on August 5.
Among the victims were two men in their fifties, four men in their seventies, four women in their eighties, two men in their eighties, two women in their nineties and three men in their nineties.
Ten of the 17 were linked to aged care outbreaks.
“To each of those families, we send our sincere condolences, our sympathies, our best wishes,” Mr Andrews said.
“This will be an incredibly difficult time for them and I want them to know they are in our thoughts and prayers, as we continue to do everything we possibly can to deal with this second wave and to get beyond it.”
There were 634 Victorians in hospital, 43 of whom were receiving intensive care. Twenty-six people were on ventilators.
There were 994 active cases among healthcare workers, and 1748 active cases connected to aged care settings.
Mr Andrews has spoken repeatedly in recent days about the significance of cases with no known source.
A week ago, he said it was “the most important number” in the state’s coronavirus statistics.
“They are active cases — cases where we can’t trace back the source of that person’s infections,” he said.
“Those mysteries (show) that community transmission is in many respects our biggest challenge and the reason why we need to move to a different set of rules.
“The number of mystery cases, the number of community transmission traces has steadily grown and now at an unacceptably high level and that’s why the advice (regarding a Stage Four lockdown) has changed.”