Health alert – Coronavirus update from Chief Health Officer Victoria 24 May 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19
Daily Update

24 May 2020


Date issued: 24 May 2020

Issued by: Adjunct Clinical Professor Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer

Issued to: Clinicians and the Victorian public



This Chief Health Officer update is intended to provide clinicians and the Victorian public with information about the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria as well as relevant public health response activities in Victoria. This update will be sent regularly.

Chief Health Officer Alerts will continue to be issued when there are changes to the public health advice related to COVID-19.


What’s New?

Developments in the outbreak

  • As of 24 May 2020, the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Victoria is 1,603, a net increase of one since yesterday.
  • Two new cases were reported, but 1 case was reclassified due to duplication.
  • The one new confirmed case is a symptomatic individual who is a health care worker.
  • The total number of cases linked to Cedar Meats outbreak remains at 111.
  • 171 cases have an unknown source of infection, unchanged since yesterday.
  • 180 cases have been acquired in Victoria of an unknown source of infection, and increase of nine since yesterday’s report
  • Nine people are in hospital, including three people in intensive care. 19 people have died. 1,498 people have recovered.
  • Of the total 1,603 cases, there have been 1,331 in metropolitan Melbourne and 234 in regional Victoria. A number of cases remain under investigation.
  • There have been 182 confirmed cases in healthcare workers, an increase of one since yesterday’s report..
  • More than 420,000 tests have been received by the department since 01 January 2020.
  • Up-to-date epidemiological data is available on our website.
  • Victoria’s state of emergency has been extended until 11.59pm on Sunday 31 May. New Directions were issued at 11.59pm Tuesday 12 May with some restrictions eased.
  • The Victorian Government has announced a gradual easing of restrictions throughout the state from 1 June, including social events and ceremonies, fitness, sport and recreation, personal services, cafes, restaurants, travel, leisure, culture and entertainment.
  • Members of the public who have been tested at a metropolitan retail testing site can call the dedicated Onsite Doctor Results Hotline on 03 8669 0255 if they have been waiting more than five days for results. This hotline opened on 18 May 2020 and will operate from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, until 5 June 2020 inclusive

Current advice to clinicians

  • Victoria is aiming to fully resume all elective surgery lists by the end of July 2020. Resuming the elective surgery blitz that was paused in early 2020 will then be considered.
  • Due to the current high volume of COVID-19 tests being processed, results may take longer than usual, up to five days.
  • Practitioners are encouraged to test any patients who meet the clinical criteria below:

    Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation*
    Acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or anosmia)

    Note: In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19** AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19; who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days; or who are healthcare or aged care workers.
    *Clinical discretion applies including consideration of the potential for co-infection (e.g. concurrent infection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza)
    **headache, myalgia, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea. 

  • If referring your patients for COVID-19 testing, a list of testing locations can be found on the Getting tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
  • All Victorian school staff with or without symptoms can access tests through the Victorian School Staff Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing Scheme until 26 May 2020. More information on this scheme is available at Education sector – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) page.
  • Applications are open for the Victorian COVID-19 Research Fund, which has been established to support research that directly contributes to health impact findings of COVID-19 pandemic.

Key messages for the community

  • Victoria’s State of Emergency has been extended to 31 May, but some restrictions have been eased.
  • There are now five reasons to leave your home:
    • Shopping for food and supplies that you need
    • Care and caregiving
    • Exercise and outdoor recreation
    • Work and education – if you can’t do it from home
    • Visiting friends and family – if you really need to
  • If you have any symptoms of coronavirus you should get tested.
  • ​​​​​​​For more information about restrictions and to protect yourself go to the DHHS coronavirus (COVID-19) site.
  • Staying apart keeps protecting the health system and saves lives.
  • Protect yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19) by washing your hands regularly with soap and water; and try not to touch your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth.


  • Medical practitioners needing clinical information or to notify confirmed cases can contact the Department of Health and Human Services Communicable Diseases Section on 1300 651 160 (24 hours). 

Read the full update: Coronavirus COVID-19 daily update

Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.