Victoria orders 2000 more ventilators as coronavirus cases climb03/23/2020
Victorian authorities have placed an urgent order for around 2000 ventilators, in a move to increase the capacity of intensive care beds around the state.
The state currently has around 1000 ventilators as the government announced 61 new cases of the virus, bringing Victoria's total to 355.
State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said they are attempting to find ways to manufacture the equipment themselves, and the government was "treating this as if we’re in wartime conditions".
"We are pulling out all stops, we’re doing every possible to prepare our hospitals in particular, but also across our health system. Success is going to be determined by everyone doing their bit. Everyone needs to adhere strictly to advice around social distancing if we are to give our health system a fighting chance."
Ms Mikakos also announced new limits on the number of visitors to both public and private hospitals in a defence against the spread of coronavirus.
From midnight Monday, patients may have visitors for a maximum of two hours, and a cap of two visitors per patient per day.
There are exemptions around palliative care, as well as for the partners of mothers who have recently given birth.
"We need to keep very strictly to these limits to keep very-vulnerable patients in our hospitals safe," Ms Mikakos said.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny MikakosCredit:AAP
Of the 61 new cases of coronavirus, 34 are male, 25 are female and no details are available on the other two.
Ms Mikakos said there had some "concerning" exponential growth in the number of cases of coronavirus in Victoria.
"We’ve also seen a growth in number of cases across regional Victoria. Can I just say at the outset, new exponential growth in cases in Victoria are very concerning," she said.
All of these changes together will be challenging, these changes will impact on our way of life for some time."
One patient remains in intensive care.
"The vast number of people are recovering at home," Ms Mikakos said.
A parent of two students at Melbourne's elite private school Scotch College has tested positive for coronavirus, closing the school one day before the revised school holidays.
In a letter to Scotch parents sent out this morning, principal Tom Batty said the parent received their positive test result on the weekend and had been self-isolating since Tuesday last week.
Neither of the positive case's two senior school sons are showing symptoms of COVID-19, he said, but they are now self-isolating.
"The school will be closed to boys on Monday whilst further advice is sought from relevant agencies, however, provision will be made for boys whose families are unable to make alternative arrangements," Mr Batty said.
"Should the School receive contact from the Department of Health and Human Services, it will, of course, inform all relevant families."
Ms Mikakos said during the press conference coronavirus is 'not an elderly person's disease' urging all people to continue social distancing measures and thinking about those they could infect.
The median age for those with coronavirus in Victoria is between 47 and 49.
"This is not an elderly person’s disease, this is a disease which can strike a person of any age, particularly adults," she said.
"Particularly those for underlying medical issues, that presents them with additional risks.
"This is why it is important for young people to understand that they may not feel it’s a direct risk to them, but by socialising with their friends, they could potentially get coronavirus … they will take it back to their family, loved ones and grandparents."
There have been six confirmed cases of community transmission of COVID-19 in Victoria.
Around 97 people have now recovered from the virus. Six people remain in hospital.
There are 35 cases now in regional Victoria.
Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said that Victorians ultimately need to follow the government’s “awareness messages in all places of whatever size”, as it is a question of life or death in the time of coronavirus.
“You must minimise contact with absolutely everyone,” he said at the Monday afternoon press conference.
“You can’t guarantee that someone else won’t be carrying COVID-19, or unwell with COVID-19.
“You may develop the illness, and it could be a very mild illness … but you will potentially pass it on to someone who is very vulnerable.
“It is literally a life and death question.”
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