Victoria has recorded another 372 new coronavirus cases, Premier Daniel Andrews says. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS

health

Youngest COVID-19 death as Vic passes peak

2020-08-14 17:03:56

Victoria has passed the peak of its second coronavirus wave but authorities remain concerned more aged care residents will die. 

A man in his 20s became Australia’s youngest COVID-19 fatality on Friday as the state recorded 14 more deaths and 372 new infections. 

Premier Daniel Andrews said it still wasn’t known whether the man in his 20s died from the virus or with it.

“I can’t speak to the circumstances of that individual and it may well be the coroner will look at that matter and determine the circumstances,” he told reporters. 

The premier added the man was not living at a disability facility, where there are now 87 active cases among residents and staff. 

The remaining 13 victims were aged in their 80s and 90s, with 12 residents of aged care facilities.  

To date, 289 Victorians have died from the virus, while the national toll stands at 375. 

About 70 per cent of Australia’s coronavirus deaths are among aged care residents. 

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton is confident the state has passed its second wave peak, with the effect of Melbourne’s stage four lockdown to show in coming days. 

“The seven-day trend indicates the peak was probably four or five days ago and we will continue to see lower numbers overall from here on in,” he said.

He warned the tough restrictions will not be lifted until case numbers are much lower. 

“We could not conceive of opening up with 200 cases a day. We couldn’t do it with 100 cases a day. We have to head for the lowest possible number,” Professor Sutton said. 

He and the premier remain concerned about the number of aged care residents infected.

“They are most at risk of dying. We also have to drive those numbers down,” Professor Sutton said.

There are now 2034 active cases across 119 facilities, out of a total of 7877 active cases in the state.  

About 3100 have been dubbed ‘mystery cases,’ where the source of a person’s infection cannot be identified.

The majority are among people aged 20 to 29 and within multicultural communities, Professor Sutton said.

Some 659 Victorians are battling the virus in hospital, including 41 in intensive care and 26 on ventilators.

Meanwhile, speculation on Friday rose over who was “patient zero” in Victoria’s second wave. 

According to The Age, a night duty manager at Rydges on Swanston was the first to come down with the virus on May 25, presumably contracting it from a returned traveller.

Five security guards reportedly tested positive soon after, in turn infecting their families in the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne, which have since become virus hotspots. 

Asked about his knowledge of “patient zero”, Mr Andrews said that would be determined by an inquiry into the failed program, which begins public hearings on Monday.  

“I don’t have any advice about who that person might be,” he said.

“The whole notion that we could necessarily have to the degree of certainty clarity about one particular person, I don’t know the science would lead you to that. It could but it may not.”

Rydes Hotel confirmed the staff member immediately went into self-isolation after being tested and none of their friends or colleagues tested positive. 

“Rydges on Swanston is fully supportive of the Judicial Inquiry into the Hotel Quarantine Program and is currently assisting the inquiry with its investigations,” a statement said.