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Victoria records 1638 new Covid cases but state’s road map remains ‘on track’

Victoria’s road map out of lockdown remains ‘on track’ despite record high cases in recent days, according to a leading professor from the Burnet Institute.

Victoria recorded 1638 new COVID cases on Thursday, with health officials also announcing another two deaths.

Earlier this week the state broke a record for the highest ever daily cases in Australia, with 1763 infections reported.

Thursday’s tally is significantly higher than Wednesday’s 1420 infections, as the figure bounces around the mid-1000s.

But despite the high numbers, the Burnet Institute’s Mark Stoove said the state was still on its path towards reopening.

“The numbers that have been coming through over the last week or so have been high and they’ve been stabilising between 1000 and 1500,” Professor Stoove told Today.

“But it is well within the bounds of our modelling. I don’t see any reason why the government would want to change its road map at the moment.”

Covid Melbourne
Camera IconCovid-19 cases across Melbourne's northern and western suburbs are driving case numbers. NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie Credit: News Corp Australia

It comes a day after a cancer ward at the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital was listed as a public exposure site when a parent tested positive to the virus.

Hospital CEO Bernadette McDonald said the exposure occurred a few days ago and contact tracing was underway.

“Every time we get an exposure site it’s concerning to all of us and we’re trying to minimise it as much as possible,” she said.

“But we do know that Covid in children is not as extreme as it does affect adults. But all children, no matter where they are, are monitored very closely, whether they’ve got Covid or not, and if they happen to become Covid positive, there’s an increased monitoring.

“This is something we’re seeing regularly and that’s why we have our screening processes in place.”

Victoria on Wednesday announced it would roll out rapid antigen testing in the state’s healthcare settings.

More than 500 people are in Victorian hospitals with Covid, with 101 in intensive care and 66 on a ventilator.

The government will purchase at least 2.2 million tests throughout the state’s healthcare system before expanding to “riskier” settings such as schools, childcare, corrections and emergency services.

The testing will also be used to manage close contacts and for triage patients seeking access to urgent care.

“There will of course be an opportunity for industry and for domestic use and for other areas of the Victorian community to incorporate rapid testing,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.

“It will be part of the ongoing toolkit to make sure that we can manage and deal with the potential for Covid in our daily lives.”

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