Victoria records 34,836 new coronavirus cases, 18 deaths

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Victoria recorded 34,836 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 18 deaths, as health authorities consider using the state’s quarantine hotels to house virus patients so that hospital beds can be freed up.

More than 19,000 new cases recorded in Victoria on Thursday came from PCR tests, while 15,440 were self-reported from rapid antigen tests.

Friday’s new case numbers bring Victoria’s active cases to 239,396. NSW reported 63,018 new cases and 29 deaths.

There are now 976 people in hospital with the virus in Victoria, with 30 people on a ventilator and 112 are in intensive care. More than 62,000 PCR tests results were returned across Thursday.

The Age has confirmed that a system where COVID patients are transferred to hotel quarantine to reduce demand for hospital beds is to be established soon. It’s expected to be used for patients nearing the end of their hospital stay.

The plan was flagged in minutes of a meeting between state Health Minister Martin Foley and acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie last week.

The meeting notes seen by The Age said quarantine hotels were “likely” to be used for the temporary transfer of COVID-19 patients who had improved but were unable to go home.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid does not support the possible use of hotel quarantine facilities as de facto hospitals.

“If they still require care, they should be in a health facility and these hotels are not health facilities. That would basically be an admission the hospital systems are failing to cope,” Dr Khorshid said.

But he said the plan was not unreasonable if the hotels were used to help COVID-positive patients, who no longer needed hospital care, isolate before they could return home.

With 24,071 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Victoria’s state-run hubs yesterday, 93 per cent of the population aged over 12 have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine is, while 21 per cent of over-18s in the state have received a booster dose.

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