13 dead in Victoria; children's hospital hit by Covid scare

Victoria has recorded its deadliest day of its Covid-19 third wave, with 13 deaths reported on Wednesday.

The state recorded 1571 fresh locally acquired Covid-19 infections and one from overseas, from 79,200 tests on Tuesday.

The health department on Wednesday confirmed there are now 19,861 active infections across the state.

It takes the toll from the current outbreak to 114.

More than 38,072 Victorians received a Covid vaccine on Tuesday.

The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne is dealing with a Covid-19 scare in its newborn intensive care unit.

Hospital chief executive Bernadette McDonald told reporters on Wednesday that a parent visited the unit on Thursday and Friday last week and returned a positive result on Monday, notifying the hospital that evening.

There were 29 babies in the unit at the time and no transmission to the babies has yet been found.

The hospital will now be introducing rapid antigen testing for visitors, based off a trial happening at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

"They will need to do that testing when they enter the hospital, before they get into clinical wards they will need to have a negative test," Ms McDonald said.

"It is a very challenging circumstances to find the balance between allowing mums and dads to come and see their children and spend time with their children ... and trying to manage to keep everyone - families, staff, patients - safe from Covid-19 and the rising numbers of Covid positive people in the community."

The hospital's cancer ward was exposed to the virus at the beginning of this month, after a patient's parent tested positive for Covid-19 after visiting over at least four days.

Elective surgeries will be paused from Thursday as the state prepares for an influx of coronavirus patients in coming weeks.

Victoria is also seeking to recruit up to 1000 healthcare workers from outside Australia to help the system cope as virus patients grow.

The number of Victorians in hospital with Covid-19 continues to rise. Some 675 people are currently in care, with 144 in intensive care units and 100 on ventilators.

As of Tuesday, almost 60 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 were full vaccinated, while 86.7 per cent have received one Covid-19 vaccine dose.


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