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On the rise: Victoria records 79 new virus cases

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Victoria has recorded 79 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

The health department on Friday confirmed 53 are linked to known outbreaks, with the source of the remaining 26 under investigation.

They did not disclose how many cases were infectious in the community.

It brings the total number of active cases in Victoria to 660, with about one in 10 infections based in the regional town of Shepparton.

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About 16,000 residents in the region, which has a population of 65,000, are believed to be self-isolating, forcing the closure of food distributors, supermarkets and pharmacies due to staff shortages.

Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said some local tier-one exposure sites, particularly those involving schools, could be downgraded early.

“In the next 24 to 48 hours, I’m hopeful we might be able to see some of those exposure sites have their tier rating reclassified,” he told reporters in Shepparton on Thursday.

Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes said the government was working with supermarkets to backfill staff from nearby regional stores, while 400 food relief packs had been delivered to those in isolation.

The state’s deputy emergency management commissioner Deb Abbott and other senior departmental officials have been sent to Shepparton to coordinate relief on the ground, while 70 Australian Defence Force personnel will support testing efforts and door-to-door checks in the region.

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Premier Daniel Andrews pleaded for Victorians not to delay testing, saying several new cases had experienced COVID-19 symptoms for a week or more.

Over the past week, data shows only 40 per cent of symptomatic cases reported getting tested when symptoms first developed.

Mr Andrews said it was too early to say whether the statewide lockdown would lift on September 2.

STATE-BY-STATE CASE BREAKDOWN

VIC – 79 new cases

NSW – TBA

QLD – TBA

ACT – TBA

WA – TBA

SA – TBA

TAS – TBA

NT – TBA

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