Health alert – Coronavirus update from Chief Health Officer Victoria 26 June 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19

Daily Update

Date issued: 26 June 2020

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

Issued to: Clinicians and the Victorian public

Purpose

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?

  • As of 26 June 2020, the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Victoria is 1,947, an increase of 30 since yesterday’s report.
  • Of the 30 new cases, seven cases are linked to outbreaks, five were detected in hotel quarantine, five were identified through routine testing, and 13 remain under investigation.
  • 245 cases have been acquired in Australia where the source of infection is unknown, an increase of five since yesterday’s report.
  • Six people are in hospital, including one patient in intensive care. 20 people have died, no increase  since yesterday’s report. 1,742 people have recovered.
  • Of the total 1,947 cases, there have been 1,624 in metropolitan Melbourne and 241 in regional Victoria. Several cases remain under investigation.
  • More than 736,000 test results have been received by the department since 1 January 2020.
  • The State of Emergency has been extended until 11.59pm on 19 July.
  • A targeted blitz was launched yesterday across ten priority suburbs to zero-in on community transmission with a fleet of mobile vans. Over 10 days, residents of these suburbs will receive free testing – with or without symptoms. Priority suburbs include Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham, with Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows identified as the top two and focus of the next three days of testing. Further details can be found in today’s coronavirus (COVID-19) media release.
  • Residents of these suburbs should not seek asymptomatic testing from their General Practitioner, rather visit a site listed on our Getting tested webpage.
  • People getting tested in hotspots who are asymptomatic and awaiting test results do not need to self-isolate. In line with existing guidance, if people feel unwell or have any of the coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms they should self-isolate.
  • Up-to-date epidemiological data is available on our website.

Current advice to clinicians

  • 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* 

OR 

Acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, anosmia or loss of smell or loss of taste)

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 page.
  • Any coronavirus (COVID-19) test reported by a laboratory as having detected SARS-CoV-2 on PCR will be treated as positive for the purposes of public health actions, regardless of repeat testing of the sample. It is not appropriate to advise a patient that a test is a false positive. Current processing time for coronavirus (COVID-19) tests is one to three days.
  • Practitioners are encouraged to also consider testing for other infectious diseases as warranted by the patient’s clinical presentation and history, including travel history. Test for influenza in patients presenting with compatible respiratory symptoms and request a stool culture in patients presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms.

Key messages for the community

  • For 10 days starting Thursday 25 June, if you live in one of the priority suburbs you will receive free testing – with or without symptoms.  Go to the DHHS testing map for locations.
  • If you feel unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should stay home and get tested. If you have any fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste – stay home, don’t go in to work and don’t visit friends and family. Get tested and stay at home until you get the result.
  • Asymptomatic people getting tested in hotspots during this time do not need to self-isolate.
  • It also remains critical to practice good hygiene in and outside the home, wash your hands regularly, cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and try to avoid touching your face. Maintain physical distance from others and avoid crowds. And if you can work from home, you must keep working from home.
  • People who get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) only get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). For all other health enquiries, you should seek medical advice through your General Practitioner or other allied health providers.
  • We encourage people to get tested to support the coronavirus (COVID-19) response in quickly finding and tracing the virus in workplaces to protect workplaces, workers and our communities.
  • We emphasise that we uphold the privacy and confidentially of people getting tested.

Read the full update: Coronavirus COVID-19 daily update