Victoria has recorded Australia's biggest COVID-19 spike with 532 more cases and six deaths amid signs the state's second wave may be reaching its peak.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said modelling suggested Monday's numbers could be the peak of the state's large daily case numbers, but the days ahead would be most telling.
"Modelling, with our effective reproduction number that I have seen most recently, suggests that today should be the peak," he told reporters.
"Now, I'm not going to sit back and say today is the peak. We have to see what happens in coming days."
The case record prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to warn that if workplace transmission continued to rise, some industries would be forced to shut down.
"If we were to continue to see outbreaks, if we were to continue to see people quite obviously attending work when they shouldn't be, then every option becomes on the table," he said.
"The next steps may well have to include closing a number of these industries if we continue to see people attending work."
Mr Andrews implored Victorians who were experiencing symptoms of coronavirus not to go to work or there would be more deaths.
We have too many people that have symptoms who are going to work.Premier Andrews
"Otherwise, these restrictions will be in place for longer than they should be, and I'm sorry to say, we will see more people die, particularly in aged care," he said.
"If people are going to work sick, people will become infected. And therefore, people will die."
Mr Andrews said the six new deaths included women in their 70s, 80s and 90s and men in their 50s, 70s and 80s and five are connected to outbreaks in aged care.
The deaths take the state toll to 77 and the national figure to 161.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton remains disturbed about outbreaks at aged care facilities.
"These are very challenging numbers. We're at a very challenging stage with this wave," he told reporters.
Prof Sutton said there were now 84 cases linked to St Basil's Home for the Aged in Fawkner, 82 at Estia Health in Ardeer, 77 at Epping Gardens Aged Care, 62 at Menarock Aged Care in Essendon.
Glendale Aged Care in Werribee has 53 cases linked to it and 57 are associated with Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth.
Prime Minster Scott Morrison said it would take the efforts of the entire state to drive down Victoria's case numbers.
"In Victoria, there is still a long way to go. We are still seeing case numbers at elevated levels and so, as we have seen from other jurisdictions, when you get community-based transmission, it does take some time to get that down," Mr Morrison told reporters.
"We just ask for the continued cooperation and goodwill of the people of Melbourne and Victoria more broadly to ensure that we can get on top of this and we will continue to work together to that end."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The breakdown of cases by local government area will be sent out later today.
Currently the Ballarat municipality has 11 active cases, although Monday's update has not yet been released.
There were none registered until July 17 when Ballarat registered its first positive COVID case since mid-May.
Numbers increased steadily after that first case.
In recent days, concerns have been raised over contact tracing and planning to manage for outbreaks in aged care homes.
MORE ON CORONAVIRUS
Stage 3 "Stay at Home" restrictions remain in force across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
There are only four reasons for people to leave their homes: shopping for food and essential items; care and caregiving; daily exercise; and work and study.
VICTORIA'S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR JULY 26
- 532 new cases, the 22nd consecutive day of a triple-digit increase. This is the state's worst daily figure during the pandemic
- Six more deaths, bringing the state's toll to 77 and the national figure to 161
- 4542 total active cases across the state
- 683 active cases connected to aged care
- About 400 health workers currently infected
- The latest deceased include a woman aged in her 90s, a man and a woman in their 80s, a man and a woman in their 70s and a man in his 50s
- Five of the six deaths have been linked to aged care outbreaks
- 245 people in hospital with 44 people in intensive care
- More than 1,518,107 tests have been processed since the start of the pandemic
- 17,588 tests conducted on Sunday
- This is Victoria's highest daily total, followed by 484 on July 22
WHERE TO TAKE A COVID-19 TEST IN BALLARAT
- If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, make an appointment either online or by phone (4311 1571) to take a test at Lucas Community Hub. Tests are by appointment only.
- There is now a testing site at the Ballarat Senior Citizens Centre in the CBD. People are encouraged to book a test by calling 1800 054 172.
AFFECTED BY THIS STORY?
Support is available. You are never alone.
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
- Mensline: 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au
- Survivors of Suicide: 0449 913 535
- Relationships Australia: 1800 050 321
- headspace Ballarat (for 12-25s and parent support): 5304 4777
- Soldier On: 1300 620 380
- Ballarat Community Health: 5338 4500
- QLife: 1800 184 527 (Support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people)
- Family violence: 1800 RESPECTVeterans support: If you or someone you know needs support call Open Arms on 1800 011 046 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit www.openarms.gov.au
- For Aboriginal crisis support: Yarning SafeNStrong, 1800 959 563 (noon to 10pm)
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