More people may die from coronavirus in Victoria, the state’s chief health officer has warned, as parts of the state entered lockdown for the second time.
Victoria recorded 77 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, marking the 16th day of double-digit case numbers in the state.
Many of the new cases are localised in Melbourne’s inner north and west, where more than 300,000 residents in 10 postcodes will remain in lockdown until July 29.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said “not unexpectedly” the number of patients in hospital had grown to 20, with four people in intensive care.
“When you’ve got significant community transmission, when you’ve got 70-odd cases every day, there is absolutely a possibility, an expectation, that some of those people will die,” he said.
Of the new cases, seven are linked to outbreaks at schools.
With 17 schools closed in recent weeks for cleaning following COVID-19 cases, Professor Sutton said he will review whether students in the locked-down areas should return to school.
Also on Thursday, the state government confirmed veteran judge Jennifer Coate will lead an inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine program.
A large proportion of the state’s recent cases have been traced back to infection control breaches by security staff at hotels hosting returned travellers.
Meanwhile, Coles has been forced to impose a two-pack limit on products including butter, cheese and fresh milk in Victoria, Tasmania and parts of NSW after several staff members tested positive to COVID-19 at their Laverton distribution centre.
A Marvel Stadium security contractor also tested positive to COVID-19, but AFL matches at the venue will go ahead as planned.