Vic has 8577 new virus cases, three deaths


Victoria has recorded a fresh all-time high of new daily COVID-19 cases after 8577 residents caught the virus.

Another three virus-related deaths were also reported by the health department on Monday, which is a public holiday to make up for New Year’s Day falling on Saturday.

The number of Victorian coronavirus patients in hospital care has risen to 491, up 19 on Sunday’s figure and 47 beyond the seven-day average.

Of those, 56 are classified as active ICU cases and 24 are on ventilators.

In total, Victoria is managing 38,118 active COVID-19 cases.

Health authorities say virus testers managed to process 44,168 results in the 24 hours to Sunday evening.

In his daily update on Sunday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said community sampling showed 76 per cent of all COVID-19 samples collected over the Christmas period were identified as the Omicron variant.

Further testing to confirm this figure will be undertaken over the next week.

It comes after extreme heat forced the closure of eight of the state’s testing sites on Saturday, blowing out queues and test result wait times.

One man told AAP he had been waiting four days for his result and was yet to receive it as of 2pm on Sunday, after taking a PCR test at Melbourne Town Hall on December 29.

He tested positive to two rapid antigen tests and had tried calling the Coronavirus Test Results Hotline a number of times but was told they were too busy to take his call.

Early Childhood Minister Ingrid Stitt admitted there was “unprecedented demand” on the testing system in recent days, but said results were “overwhelmingly” coming through within 24 to 48 hours.

The state’s health minister is expected to make an announcement on access to rapid antigen tests within days.