“That is not every case, but it is probably the biggest group.”
Salvia tests are being rolled out to all of those in hotel quarantine, and the premier said he now expected all returned travellers to undergo testing.
The 49 new coronavirus cases identified in the past day is the highest since April 2, when 68 cases were detected at the height of the first wave of coronavirus.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said authorities needed to wait five or six days to see if recent interventions had an effect on the spread of the virus.
These interventions include tightening of the rules on gatherings, with Victorians now allowed only five visitors in their homes.
“But if it continues to increase, I think those are the circumstances where you think about an additional intervention and especially if it is localised in a particular postcode or a particular suburb,” Dr Sutton said.
The Premier confirmed he had not ruled out stay-at-home orders being issued to the worst-affected areas, similar to the restrictions that covered all of Victoria in April.
“That is not our preference,” he said. “We’ll do it if we need to.”
Meanwhile, the testing blitz is ongoing in hotspot suburbs including Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows, where Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said 24,000 homes in priority suburbs had so far been doorknocked and 11,000 people tested.
The latest update comes after the state’s deputy health chief Dr Annaliese van Diemen conceded on Saturday that Victoria appeared to be in the midst of a “second peak” of infections, following a steady increase in new cases since June 9, when no new cases were reported.
A number of those infected had been working in front-facing jobs that are unable to be done from home, leading to numerous workplaces being closed or their employees temporarily sent home.
Four people at the Coles distribution centre at Laverton have now tested positive, along with a further person associated with an outbreak at the Stamford Plaza, one of the quarantine hotels.
Meanwhile, Thirteen Metro Trains staff were recently asked to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a Flinders Street Station employee who tested positive to coronavirus.
Aisha Dow reports on health for The Age and is a former city reporter.
David Estcourt is a court and general news reporter at The Age.