Australia has passed an unwanted milestone in the battle against COVID-19 after recording the country’s 8000th confirmed case since the pandemic began.
Deputy chief medical officer Professor Michael Kidd announced on Thursday the number of people hospitalised or in intensive care across the country had also increased, a development he described as “very concerning”.
There have now been 8001 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia after 86 new cases were diagnosed over past 24 hours.
Most of those, 77 were in Victoria, with eight in NSW and one in the Northern Territory.
One of the NSW cases was a man who spent time in a quarantine hotel in Melbourne before returning to Sydney after completing the required quarantine period before experiencing a “resurgence” in symptoms, Professor Kidd said.
Professor Kidd said there were 24 people in hospital and five in intensive care, up from the mark of 18 and three respectively the day before.
“So we are seeing a rise in the number of people in hospital and in intensive care,” he said.
“This is a stark reminder of the very serious impact that COVID-19 can have, especially on the health of elderly people and people with significant chronic health problems.”
There have been no additional deaths in Australia. That mark remains at 104.
Professor Kidd said there had now been more than 2.56 million coronavirus tests conducted in Australia since the pandemic began, with 20,000 tests carried out in Victoria yesterday as part of an ongoing “blitz”.
He expressed his concern for the 300,000 Melbourne residents who have gone back into lockdown from July 2 and encouraged anyone struggling with mental health issues to seek help.
“All of Australia is following and supporting you at this time,” he said.
“A reminder about the mental health services available through beyondblue, Lifeline, and other wonderful services, there are people available for you to talk to right now.
“And, please, also reach out your local general practitioner if you are feeling distressed and depressed, if you need assistance.”