Victoria’s second coronavirus wave could be close to its peak, but it may take months before case numbers return to single digits.
Modelling by health authorities suggests Monday’s record 532 new cases could mark the peak of the crisis.
But VicHealth chief executive Dr Sandro Demaio said cases are not expected to come down to single digits for “many, many weeks”.
“The delay between taking measures and then seeing those hospitalisation numbers come down – that could take between two and even eight weeks,” he told ABC, adding death rates could take even longer to lower.
The state recorded six deaths on Monday, five of which were linked to outbreaks at aged care facilities.
There are 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, and 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.
Premier Daniel Andrews said people who are going to work sick – including those who work at aged care facilities – are the “biggest driver” of the state’s second wave.
He warned the state’s six-week lockdown, which started on July 8, would not end until people stop going to work with symptoms.
Mr Andrews even flagged the possibility some industries could be shut down.
Some 245 people are in hospital with the virus, including 44 in intensive care.
Among those in hospital is a baby, after an outbreak emerged in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The infant, two parents and a healthcare worker have tested positive for the virus.
All babies, staff and parents who have visited the ward since July 12 will be tested.
A worker at Mt Buller has also tested positive.
The team member became unwell last Thursday and left work to be tested and has remained in isolation since.