Two more Australians have died of COVID-19 over the weekend taking the national death toll to 108, while two Melbourne aged care homes have recorded new cases in the double digits.
It has also been announced that aged care workers in specific hotspots have been mandated to wear masks at work to prevent further spread of the virus.
The Aged Care Minister, Richard Colbeck, did not rule out making this mandatory across the sector.
"Of course aged care facilities are quite free to take up that advice more broadly," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
"But it's specifically focused at this point of time where we know there is community spread."
Senator Colbeck fears the Victorian outbreak could be replicated across the country.
"I am extremely concerned about the situation in Victoria at the moment," he said.
"We were in, I think, very good shape up until a couple of weeks ago.
"The fact we've had 35 residential aged care facilities and home care providers in a week present with cases of COVID-19 is a real concern."
The minister said it was fortunate the infections were mainly among staff, and had not transmitted to patients.
"We're doing everything we can to mitigate that," Colbeck said.
The recent outbreak has brought total cases across Victoria to 3799, 1484 active and 562 cases suspected to be down to community transmission.
The latest deaths are a man in his 70s and another man in his 90s.
Alf Jordan, 90, died in hospital on Friday night after falling ill at Glendale Aged Care in Werribee just three days earlier.
Glendale has reported 13 cases of the virus as of Monday, while there have been 26 cases reported at a Menarock Life aged care facility in Essendon.
There has also been 2 cases linked to Japara Central Park Aged Care Home in Windsor.
These new outbreaks bring the number of COVID-19 cases in aged care homes to 87, with 32 deaths. There have been 34 cases of the virus reported in home care recipients.
There have also been 11 cases linked to Brunswick Private Hospital, eight at the Alfred Hospital and two at Box Hill Hospital.
The deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth, has warned Australia’s death toll could rise further given the increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections in Victoria, and as worries mount over a potential cluster linked to a pub in Sydney.
“Deaths are a reality of COVID-19, they are the reality of a pandemic,” Dr Coatsworth told reporters in Canberra.
“It is possible that the death toll will increase, there is no doubt about that.”
But he said Australia had learnt a lot during the pandemic and it had been able to avoid the large numbers of deaths seen overseas, particularly in elderly members of the community.
Victoria reported a further 279 COVID-19 cases, following on from 216 reported on Saturday and a record 288 infections on Friday. The state has recorded more than 1000 cases in the past week.
NSW recorded five new cases and authorities in the state are concerned about community transmission, especially a cluster from a Sydney pub.
Nationally there has been 9,797 cases of the virus found since January 2020 with 7,728 recoveries.
Globally the numbers continue to snowball with 12,866,958 cases worldwide, only two weeks after we hit the 10 million cases mark, and 568,003 deaths worldwide.Do you have an idea for a story?
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