Another death and 275 new Vic COVID cases

A woman in an aged care home has died and another 275 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Victoria.

The death of the woman in her 80s takes Victoria’s COVID-19 toll to 39, with 123 lives lost across Australia.

There are 147 Victorians in hospital, 31 of whom are in intensive care, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday.

Victoria now has recorded a total of 5942 cases since the pandemic began and 2913 of those remain active.

The state has seen triple-digit case numbers for a fortnight.

Monday’s figure is lower than some previous figures, but Mr Andrews said he was hesitant to say the second wave was flattening.

“We had a very big day Friday and we had a substantial drop-off, even though we had done more tests,” he told reporters.

“It won’t be until Wednesday that we get to the full two weeks of the stay at home orders across all of metro Melbourne, albeit some of those hot spot post codes in the north and the west, they have been under the stay at home rules for longer. 

“We shouldn’t interpret this data as if we’re in week five of a six week lock down.”

Among the latest cases are two Magistrates Court workers.

The pair are close contacts and one works at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, the other at Heidelberg.

“Appropriate cleaning has been undertaken at both sites and support is being provided to all staff,” the court said in a statement.

“Court staff have been working in teams so the diagnoses have not impacted court operations.”

The Melbourne staff member was last at the court building on July 10 and the Heidelberg staffer on July 15.

Contact tracing identified 10 colleagues in total for isolating and testing, but all tests returned so far have been negative.

People aged 12 and up, living in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will have to wear masks or face coverings from Thursday.

The government announced on Monday students required to be in the classroom from this week would be among the first to receive free masks.

“We already have 1.2 million single use masks and we will be distributing those to all government schools in Melbourne metro and Mitchell shire over the coming couple of days and we will also be providing these single use masks for our Catholic and independent schools,” Education Minister James Merlino told reporters.

An order of 1.37 million reusable fabric masks has been made and the Department of Education will be one of the first to receive a batch of them.

“We will have those by early next week and we will be distributing those out to government and non-government schools in Melbourne metro and Mitchell Shire,” Mr Merlino said.

The fabric masks are being made by five Victorian companies – Noby Denim, StylePrint, NMBQ, The Ark and The Mask Project.

Most prep to year 10 students resumed remote and flexible learning on Monday.

Senior secondary students, special needs and vulnerable students all resume in-class learning though and will be required to wear a mask if they are 12 or older.

The state government says it has issued up to 61,000 lap tops and devices for students who need them, as well as around 23,000 SIM cards and dongles to help in remote learning.

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