The number of daily new COVID-19 cases in Victoria has dropped below 300 for the first time in nine days.
In a positive sign for the state, 295 new coronavirus cases were confirmed today, the lowest daily total since July 20.
It follows Monday's alarming high of 532 and Tuesday's total of 384.
Sadly, however, there were nine deaths recorded.
Seven of the nine were related to private sector aged care.
Ballarat's figures have not yet been released today but as of Tuesday, there were 10 known active cases in the city.
An aged care outbreak at the Bill Crawford Lodge that included five people is also said to have been fully traced, with operations expected to return to normal in the coming days.
The total amount of active cases in Victoria now sits at 4839, 196 of which are in regional Victoria.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Premier Daniel Andrews saidalthough regional numbers remained low, the danger was far from over.
The latest figures come as hospital staff and army medics are being sent into Victoria's aged care facilities in the wake of the rising death toll amongst the elderly following the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
They will fill staffing gaps at the centres after national Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth noted some senior nurses and managers had to avoid work or comply with isolation orders to avoid spreading the virus.
"No business in Australia has a business continuity plan that accounts for their entire workforce not being able to go to work," he told Nine Network on Wednesday.
"I think in a lot of ways that has led some of the most affected institutions to where they are now."
The federal government has defended its response to the "distressing" outbreak of coronavirus cases and deaths in aged care homes in Victoria, promising improvements in the next 24 hours.
"The situation that we have been facing, particularly in recent days and weeks in Victoria for aged, care has been very distressing," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.
Multiple aged care and nursing homes in the state have staffing gaps due to workers being required to comply with quarantine orders to avoid spreading the virus, putting the welfare of residents at risk.
All the homes are regulated by the federal government, which together with the Victorian government is trying to get the outbreak under control.
"The challenges of dealing with aged care are not unique to Australia ... it is inevitable that this (virus) will find its way into aged care facilities," Mr Morrision said.
"When it rains, everyone gets wet. And that is what we're seeing with broad- based community transmission in Victoria."
The homes most affected are Estia Health Aged Care in Ardeer, St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Fawkner and Epping Gardens Aged Care.
Federal Health Department Secretary Dr Brendan Murphy said a number of residents were being moved out the homes and into hospitals.
"Our biggest concern at the moment is (the) facility in Epping, Epping Gardens," he said.
"We are putting in some very senior workforce to cope with the loss of the many senior staff in that facility who unfortunately had to quarantine.
"We are very confident we will have that facility stable ... in the next 24 hours."
WHERE TO TAKE A COVID-19 TEST IN BALLARAT
Everyone who feels even the slightest cold or flu-like symptom must assume they have the virus until a test result proves otherwise. Anybody with symptoms or awaiting a result should self-isolate at home.
- 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.
VICTORIA'S NIGHTMARE MONTH
- Wednesday July 29: 295 new cases, nine deaths as new cases drop below 300 for first time in nine days
- Tuesday July 28: 380 new cases, six deaths as aged care outbreaks continue to climb
- Monday July 27: 532 new cases as daily cases hits 500 for first time, six deaths
- Sunday July 26: 459 new cases as double-digit death toll is recorded for first time with 10 deaths
- Saturday July 25: 357 new cases, five new deaths
- Friday July 24: 300 cases, six deaths, ADF role expanded to help with contact tracing.
- Thursday July 23 - 403 cases, five deaths, worst day for fatalities in any state, masks now mandatory
- Wednesday July 22 - 484 cases, two deaths
- Tuesday July 21 - 374 cases, three deaths
- Monday July 20 - 275 cases, one death
- Sunday July 19 - 363 cases, three deaths, notice that masks will become mandatory in lockdown areas
- Saturday July 18 - 217 cases, three deaths, final Melbourne public housing tower released from hard lockdown
- Friday July 17 - 428 cases, three deaths
- Thursday July 16 - 317 cases, two deaths
- Wednesday July 15 - 238 cases, one death
- Tuesday July 14 - 270 cases, two deaths
- Monday July 13 - 177 cases
- Sunday July 12 - 273 cases, one death
- Saturday July 11 - 216 cases, one death
- Friday July 10 - 288 cases, a national daily record at the time
- Thursday July 9 - 165 cases, eight of nine Melbourne public housing towers released from hard lockdown
- Wednesday July 8 - 134 cases, new stage-three restrictions announced for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire
- Tuesday July 7 - 191 cases
- Monday July 6 - 127 cases, two deaths, NSW border closed
- Sunday July 5 - 74 cases
- Saturday July 4 - 108 cases, immediate hard lockdown of nine Melbourne public housing towers
- Friday July 3 - 66 cases
- Thursday July 2 - 77 cases
- Wednesday July 1 - 73 cases
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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