Victoria has recorded 1923 COVID-19 cases and 25 people have died with the virus, the highest daily death toll from the current outbreak.
The health department confirmed on Thursday the state is now managing 22,189 active infections.
There are 746 people in hospital, with the seven-day average at 780. Of those, 137 are in intensive care with 85 on a ventilator.
The latest deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 272.
About 77 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated.
There were 82,648 tests processed and 22,189 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Wednesday.
The latest figures come as authorities warn there’s a high risk of a thunderstorm asthma event in the state’s southwest, Wimmera and Mallee districts, while Melbourne may be moderately affected.
The combination of high grass pollen levels, severe thunderstorms and strong winds on Thursday means a “large number of people” may develop asthma symptoms quickly, the health department said.
“Our hospitals are experiencing significant demand due to COVID-19, so it’s important you stay well,” an alert said.
Those at risk are being advised to avoid being outdoors during storms and the winds that precede them, and remember to take preventative medication.
A thunderstorm asthma event in 2016 killed nine people and saw thousands more hospitalised.
Meanwhile, half a million people are being urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as statewide restrictions are set to ease once again.
From 6pm Friday, people in metropolitan Melbourne will be allowed to travel to the regions and interstate, masks will not be required outdoors, and non- essential retail stores will be able to open.
But about 500,000 Victorians have yet to receive their first vaccine dose, with only 83 per cent of people aged in their 20s getting a first jab.
STATE-BY-STATE CASE BREAKDOWN
NSW – 293 new local cases
VIC – 1923 new local cases, 25 deaths
ACT – TBA
WA – TBA
QLD – TBA
SA – TBA
TAS – TBA
NT – TBA