Ballarat COVID update | Wednesday, January 19: 186 new cases, 941 active cases | The Courier

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BALLARAT COVID UPDATE | Wednesday, January 19 NEW CASES: 186 (up from 124 yesterday) ACTIVE CASES: 941 (down from 973 yesterday) Ballarat has reported 186 new COVID cases in the 24 hours to midnight Tuesday, an increase on the number of cases reported the day before. Despite the new infections, there are 941 active cases in the city, a drop on 973 yesterday. In local government areas around Ballarat: It comes as the State Government announced the timeframe between the second and third COVID vaccines would be shortened to three months, earlier today. VICTORIAN COVID UPDATE | Wednesday, January 19 NEW CASES: 20,769 (up from 20,180 yesterday) DEATHS: 18 (down from 22 yesterday) ACTIVE CASES: 253,827 (up from 235,035 yesterday) IN HOSPITAL: 1173 (up from 1152 yesterday) IN ICU: 125 (down from 127 yesterday) ON VENTILATOR: 42 (down from 43 yesterday) Victoria has recorded 20,769 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths as the state government declares a “code brown” emergency at all metropolitan hospitals and six in the regions. The new infections confirmed by the health department on Wednesday include 10,726 from PCR tests and 10,043 from rapid antigen tests. It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 253,827, which includes 1173 people in hospital, an increase of 21 on Tuesday’s figures. The number of people in intensive care sits at 125 and there are 42 people on ventilation. But authorities are expecting hospital admissions from the current Omicron wave to skyrocket in the coming weeks. In Ballarat, the number of active cases continues to hover around the 1000 mark, according to figures released on Tuesday. The latest figures will be updated later today. However, the actual number is certain to be much higher than that, given rapid tests are not counted in location data. Yesterday’s confirmation of 124 new cases was the lowest daily figure since January 4. Meanwhile, as Victoria braces for COVID hospital admissions to skyrocket, a “code brown” emergency has been declared in all metropolitan hospitals and six in the regions, including Ballarat. The unprecedented move will take effect from midday on Wednesday. The order means each hospital will be able to postpone or defer less urgent care, while some staff may be reassigned or recalled from leave. Staff will only have leave cancelled if “absolutely necessary”. The federal government has also activated its private hospitals agreement, allowing staff to be redirected to the public system. Acting Health Minister James Merlino announced on Tuesday that the measure would last for four to six weeks, with hospitalisations from the Omicron wave expected to peak in February. He said the state’s hospital system is under “extreme pressure” from staff shortages, with more than 4000 healthcare workers isolating after either testing positive for COVID-19 or as close contacts. The code brown applies to all metropolitan Melbourne public hospitals, as well as major hospitals in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury Wodonga and Traralgon. A code brown of this scale has never previously been declared across the Victorian health system. They are usually reserved for short-term emergencies, such as the Black Saturday bushfires and deadly 2016 thunderstorm asthma event. Australasian College for Emergency Medicine spokeswoman Dr Mya Cubitt said she understood that Victorians may fear they will not be able to access emergency medical care. But she stressed that people experiencing medical emergencies will be prioritised, and will receive acute care, but that care may be in a different location to what was expected. We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we aim to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.


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