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Australia’s virus death toll rises as VIC records 217 new cases

Victorian coronavirus death toll climbs to 34 as 217 new cases recorded

Victoria has recorded 217 new coronavirus cases, almost half the number of daily cases in the state since Friday’s record number, and a further two Victorians have died.

The new daily tally is more than 200 cases fewer than the daily increase recorded in Victoria on Friday – which was the highest daily jump of 428 cases. The two Victorians who have died – a man and woman in their 80s – brought the state’s death toll from the virus to 34.

The drop in cases coincides with the end of the hard lockdowns put in place two weeks ago in the North Melbourne public housing flats on Albert Street which is now the subject of an inquiry by the Victorian Ombudsman.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the decrease showed stage three restrictions were working, however, stressed the numbers were jumping from day to day and said there was no room for complacency.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton described Saturday’s 217 figure as ”a relief”.

“Today’s number of 217 new cases is a relief, after yesterday’s number, certainly a relief to someone like me who has been watching the daily numbers for six months,” he said.

The outbreak linked to Al-Taqwa College in Truganina, Victoria’s largest coronavirus cluster, is now linked to 164 infections.

There are now a total of 23 cases linked to the Glendale Aged Care facility in Werribee, 13 linked to Estia Health Aged Care in Heidelberg and nine linked to the St Basil’s aged care facility in Fawkner.

Three more nursing homes, including two in regional Victoria, have also recorded new cases in staff members.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said she understood one staff member at each of those nursing homes — the Bethlehem aged care facility in Bendigo, the Bill Crawford Lodge in Ballarat and Bupa Aged Care Edithvale, in Melbourne’s south-east — had tested positive.

She said the Government was “concerned” about the number of cases linked to aged care facilities in Victoria.

“[Having positive cases in regional aged care facilities now] highlights the fact that all Victorians need to be vigilant about this highly contagious virus,” she said.

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