Half of all symptomatic Victorians still aren’t volunteering for testing, according to Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton.
Victoria recorded 90 news cases on Wednesday, bringing the state’s seven-day average under 100. This was an increase from Tuesday’s 70 cases, but Wednesdays have been known to record high number, in part due to the batching of results from laboratories.
Six more Victorians died in the last 24 hours, all linked to aged care outbreaks.
New South Wales recorded 17 new cases. The Sydney CBD cluster continued to grow, with eight new cases linked on Wednesday, bringing the total to 49.
Another six cases were linked to St Paul’s Catholic College in Greystanes in western Sydney. As of Wednesday there were 10 cases associated with the outbreak, including six children and four household contacts, including a student at Girraween public school. The source of infection was still under investigation and both schools were closed for cleaning.
Of the new NSW cases, one was a returned traveller, 15 were linked to known cases and one was locally acquired with no known source.
In Victoria, Sutton said only half of those with Covid-19 symptoms were getting tested despite health officials repeatedly urging those with even the mildest sore throat or runny nose to come forward.
Sutton said the figured was based ongoing surveys that form part of a “national flu surveillance” program.
He said the state’s focus needed to be on getting these people to come forward rather than extending programs to test the non-symptomatic public.
He provided some clarification for the threshold at which point someone should isolate and present for testing.
“There will be some people where it is a running nose for a short time in the morning, a couple of sneezes [that] totally resolves after minutes. Then there is no ongoing symptoms, no cough or fever or headaches or fatigue. That doesn’t require testing,” he said.
He said everyone who has ongoing symptoms should get tested, even if they think it is their hay fever.
The premier, Daniel Andrews, announced on Tuesday that the state of disaster declared in order to impose stage four lockdowns, would be extended by 11 days until 12 September.
State of disaster declarations must be imposed four weeks at a time and this extension brings it to the notional end date of stage four.
The state of disaster will now end the same day as the current state of emergency which will allow them to be extended simultaneously.
“I just want to caution that doesn’t necessarily mean that either the state of emergency or the state of disaster will automatically come off on the 13th,” Andrews said.
“The state of emergency essentially are the rules … the state of disaster provides for the appropriate enforcement of those rules. Under the state of disaster, if a party was going on at a house, the powers for police to enter and deal with those issues, they are derived from the state of disaster.”
Victorian will learn if stage four lockdowns will be extended on Sunday when Andrews outlines the roadmap out of the pandemic for metropolitan and rural Victoria.
Covid-19 numbers in rural Victoria have continued to drop, with only 125 active cases. Geelong now has 40 actives cases, Bendigo has eight and Ballarat has five.
There are now 1,177 active cases in aged care homes, made up of 97 active outbreaks. There are 35 active infections in disability homes, 23 among staff and 12 among residents.
Queensland recorded two new cases in the last 24 hours, both linked to known cases.
“One is a female healthcare worker in her 30s who is a household contact of a previous confirmed case,” the Queensland health minister, Steven Miles, said on Wednesday.
“The other is a student at Staines Memorial College.”
This is the third case at the Ipswich school.
The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, brushed aside criticism from interstate political rivals about her willingness to host the AFL grand final.
The Gabba in Brisbane was confirmed on Wednesday as the host for this year’s AFL showpiece over Perth’s Optus Stadium and the Adelaide Oval.
The NSW deputy premier, John Barilaro, said it was hypocritical for Queensland to close borders over concerns about Covid-19 in NSW, yet let in hundreds of AFL officials from the declared virus hotspot of Victoria.
He claimed the border closure was hurting NSW residents who needed healthcare in Queensland.