Vic records 14,836 COVID cases, 29 deaths


Victoria has recorded 14,836 new COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths, as the number of people in hospital fighting the virus jumps back into four figures.

The new infections, confirmed by the health department on Tuesday, include 6297 from PCR tests and 8539 from rapid antigen tests.

It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 183,154.

Hospital patients with COVID-19 in Victoria have risen by 59 to 1057, after falling slightly in recent days.

There are 119 people in Victoria in intensive care, with 45 of those on a ventilator.

The latest figures come as schools across the state are receiving rapid antigen tests in the lead up to students and teachers returning to classrooms next week amid the Omicron wave.

Mount View Primary School principal Glenn Butler is one of many who received RAT testing kits on Monday, ahead of the beginning of term one. 

More than 14 million testing kits are going to schools as part of a four-week surveillance regime for students and staff.

Some 6.6 million of the RATs will be delivered to government, Catholic and independent primary and secondary schools before January 31, as well as kindergartens and childcare centres.

Parents will be tasked with testing their children from home twice a week and notifying the school if a result is positive.

Other back-to-school plan measures include air purifiers, compulsory indoor masks for most students, mandatory booster shots for staff, relaxed isolation rules for teachers and others deemed close contacts, and a replacement worker pool.

Meanwhile, the Victorian government will also supply rapid antigen tests to critical industries at cost price in a bid to curtail staff shortages and empty supermarket shelves.