Victoria records 21,728 new COVID-19 cases, six deaths

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Victoria has recorded 21,728 new COVID-19 cases as well as six deaths, as a new self-reporting system is implemented for those who test positive on a rapid antigen test, and density limits return.

Friday’s figures fell slightly short of the state’s daily case record 21,997, set on Thursday. They took the number of active cases in Victoria to at least 69,680, noting authorities warn the numbers are under-reported given the difficulties people have had accessing PCR tests.

Victorians now need to self-report when they tested positive for COVID-19 via a rapid antigen test, but the kits continue to be in short supply. Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

NSW has reported 38,625 new COVID-19 cases.

The number of people in hospital with the virus in Victoria rose to 644, and there were 106 people in the intensive care unit. Of those, 58 still have an active infection, and 24 were on a ventilator.

Following on from the announcement Victorians would be allowed to use rapid antigen tests to prove they have COVID-19, a state system for reporting those results was slated to go live on Friday afternoon.

People who test positive for the virus using a rapid antigen test are required to report their result to the Health Department using the system, either online or via a hotline, and isolate for seven days.

Health Minister Martin Foley on Thursday asked Victorians to be patient with that system, predicting there might be some teething issues.

Victorians who return a positive PCR test do not have to manually report their result.

The change follows a national cabinet decision that the states would no longer require a positive result on a rapid test to be confirmed via a PCR test.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded there would still be lines at PCR testing centres for the next couple of weeks until supply problems with at-home tests were sorted out.

By about 8.20am on Friday, at least 16 PCR testing sites across Victoria were at full capacity and forced to temporarily close.

The closed sites included Victoria University’s St Alban’s campus site, the Bourke Street walk-in clinic in Melbourne’s CBD, the Northern Hospital drive-through and walk-through sites, and Springers Leisure Centre at Keysborough.

Listed wait times at other sites varied from 30 minutes at facilities including the Aughtie Walk drive-through at Albert Park, to 180 minutes at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Revised density limit rules also came into effect at 11.59pm on Thursday, with indoor hospitality venues, including restaurants, cafes, pubs and nightclubs, as well as other entertainment venues, such as gaming venues, now subject to a quota of one person per two square metres.

Another 68,202 COVID-19 tests were processed across Victoria on Thursday, while 20,726 people received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a state-run clinic.

The proportion of the state’s population aged over 12 who are double-vaccinated stands at 93 per cent, while 13 per cent have received their booster shot.

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