Melburnians are now being encouraged to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible in public.
Melburnians are now being encouraged to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible in public.

National coronavirus death toll reaches 110

UPDATE: A man and woman both aged in their 80s have died from COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals.

Their deaths bring the state's toll to 26 and the 110 nationally.

Australia hit the grim milestone on Tuesday after Victoria recorded 270 new cases of coronavirus.

The state's total now stands at 4200 cases.

More than 240 of the new cases were still under investigation, while 28 had been linked to known outbreaks. There are 1803 active cases in Victoria.

The number of Victorians in hospital fighting the virus continues to grow with 85 in medical care, including 26 in intensive care, an increase in nine from Monday.

Just four percent of the cases identified over the past week were acquired overseas.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said 21 intensive care patients were on ventilators.

Almost 22,000 tests were conducted on Monday, with more than 1.17 millions Victorians tested since January 1.

 

EARLIER: Victoria has recorded 270 new coronavirus cases overnight, bringing the state's total to 4224.

Twenty-eight cases are connected to contained outbreaks.

Up to 80 people have been infected in 24 active coronavirus outbreaks in aged-care homes across Victoria, sparking fears of a major health crisis.

A special ward has been set up in Royal Melbourne Hospital in preparation for an anticipated influx of elderly patients from aged-care homes.

Private-sector homes have been worst hit in the recent spate of infections.

Figures released to the Herald Sun reveal 28 of the infected are residents.

Authorities are particularly concerned about three outbreaks - Menarock Life in Essendon, Estia Health in Ardeer and Glendale Aged Care in Werribee.

Thirteen residents have been infected at both Menarock Life and Estia Health, and two at Glendale, including 90-year-old Alf Jordan, who died on Friday.

It is believed the Estia outbreak started when an employee, who also worked at Menarock, attended both sites after becoming infected.

Werribee’s Glendale Aged Care is among the facilities concerning health authorities. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Daniel Pockett
Werribee’s Glendale Aged Care is among the facilities concerning health authorities. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Daniel Pockett

Aged-care workers in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be made to wear masks under new advice.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was being briefed daily, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on the response within Victorian's aged-care system.

 

"This is … along with our Indigenous communities, our area of greatest risk," he said.

"Any impact in an aged care institution could have dramatic consequences."

In April, 19 residents at Newmarch House in Western Sydney died from coronavirus-related illnesses during an outbreak.

State Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Menarock Life in Essendon, with 31 cases, was now the state's biggest cluster at an aged-care home.

He said he was concerned by the latest outbreaks, with 13 people taken to hospital.

"That's because they are at risk of very significant consequences but also because it helps manage the outbreak," he said. "That's a big aged-care outbreak (Menarock Life).

"That's being very intensively managed at the moment, including transfer of some residents to acute care."

Royal Melbourne Hospital said a speciality 24-bed ward had been set up to deal with an influx of aged-care residents.

It is believed the ward was set up in direct response to a recent jump in numbers at the homes.

A spokesman for the hospital said it would cater for "some of the most vulnerable".

Another 21 residents at Menarock Life tested negative, and have been tested for a second time to ensure the results are correct.

CEO Kath Warren said all precautions were being taken, including the introduction of an on-site infection control co-ordinator and PPE supplies from the national medical stockpile.

"The health and wellbeing of our residents is our utmost priority," Ms Warren said. "We appreciate that this is a very difficult time for our Menarock community at Essendon."

Glendale Aged Care, in Werribee, confirmed 10 staff and two residents - including Mr Jordan -- had the virus. A further 474 tests at the home returned negative results.


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