A young doctor is fighting for his life after contracting COVID-19 as Victoria is hit with another day of high coronavirus cases.
Victoria is expected to announce 627 new coronavirus cases on Friday, just a day after suffering its worst day since the pandemic began.
Victoria’s deadly outbreak grew by a record 723 cases and claimed 13 lives on Thursday – the darkest day in Australia since the fight against the virus began.
The figures come after Premier Daniel Andrews warned that Melbourne’s crippling lockdown will likely be extended if case numbers continue to rise.
An emergency department doctor in his 30s is among the ICU patients after contracting the illness, the Herald Sun reported.
Victoria broke the record for its single daily increase in coronavirus cases on Thursday. Pictured: Medical staff are seen at St Basil’s Home for the Aged Care in Fawkner
Victorian authorities are now in a position where the only course of action is to ensure the state is ready for an onslaught of hospital-bound coronavirus patients, a senior government source said.
‘One senior figure in government in Australia has suggested to me that Victoria is too far gone – that it does not have the structures in place to quell the virus through contact tracing,’ Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clenell said on Thursday.
‘Now it just has to make sure it has to have enough ventilators, beds and personal protective equipment.’
While the daily infection totals in NSW have yet to exceed 20 over the past fortnight, a former federal government official has warned a single ‘super spreader’ event could trigger a Victorian-style outbreak.
‘NSW is not in a good place,’ Grattan Institute health economist and former secretary of the federal health department Stephen Duckett told nine.com.au.
‘Every day that goes by you’ve got a risk. While the virus is circulating there is always the chance there will be a super spreader event and then you will be in strife.’
Professor of epidemiology at the University of NSW’s Kirby Institute John Kaldor said the cases which posed the largest risk were those not linked to known cases or outbreaks.
The percentage of cases in NSW not linked to known cases is only about 10 per cent, but Professor Kaldor said the virus can ‘move in ways you are not predicting’.
The warnings come as allegations of neglect emerged from the coronavirus-riddled Epping Gardens Aged Care home in Melbourne’s north.
Doctors have claimed patients were left dead in their beds for as long as six hours, The Australian reported.
On Monday, the ratio of staff-patient at the facility – which has yet to respond to the allegations – was reportedly one to 14 – when the normal ratio in public hospitals is one to four or five.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the nursing home for comment.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier on Thursday he supported the introduction of new measures to slow the virus’s spread in Melbourne, stating case numbers in the ‘Victorian wave’ were very concerning.
‘We have now been in this lockdown for some weeks and we are not getting the results we would hope for. And as a result the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary,’ Mr Morrison said.
Mr Andrews on Thursday banned residents of the Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliff local government areas from receiving visitors at home from Friday.
He also extended compulsory mask wearing to the rest of Victoria from 11.59pm on Sunday.
‘It’s inconvenient, it’s challenging, but it’s essentially stage four for Melbourne and it’s something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost but get a really significant public health benefit,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday.
He also warned Melbourne’s crippling lockdown will likely be extended if case numbers continue to rise.
‘Ultimately, every Victorian, I think deep down knows and appreciates that unless everyone plays their part this lockdown will not end anytime soon,’ Mr Andrews said.
More to come
All Victorians will be required to wear a face mask from 11.59pm on Sunday. Pictured: People wear face masks in Melbourne
Victoria is expected to announce 723 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. The state’s previous record was 532 infections on Monday