Authorities battle to contain multiple clusters in Victoria and NSW.

July 22, 2020 19:20:47
The emergence of multiple clusters of community transmission in both Victoria and NSW are continuing to concern health authorities as Australia posted its largest daily increase in new infections since the pandemic began.
Today in Victoria 69 new cases we reported among residents and staff at nursing homes bringing the cumulative total to nearly 400 cases in 45 facilities.
Additional cases were also added to known clusters linked to outbreaks in public housing apartment blocks, a supermarket in Essendon and three meat processing factories.
In NSW, 53 cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to the Crossroads Hotel in the south-western suburb of Casula and 37 cases related to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park, some 20km to the north.
The news comes as Victoria recorded 484 additional infections while Australia’s new daily case count reached 502.
This eclipses the previous record day for Victoria of 428 new cases set on July 17 and, nationally, 460 new cases set on March 28.
Meanwhile, another two people passed away in the state overnight, bringing Victoria’s death toll to 44 and the national total to 128. All of the past 26 deaths have been in Victoria.
The latest update was at ___
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(Tap/hover on any chart for more information.)
To date, Australia has recorded ___ confirmed casesof COVID-19, including __ deaths.
These figures are from a national dataset of every confirmed case since January 25, when the country’s first four cases were reported.
Compiled by ABC News, the dataset tracks cases as they are confirmed by state and federal health authorities. It is supplemented with additional reporting by ABC News and updated daily.
So far today, ___ new cases have been reported.
(Note that national daily and cumulative counts are likely to be lower earlier in the day, as some states/territories have not yet reported.)
In the chart below, ABC News has classified cases confirmed since June 1 by the likely or suspected source of infection. It is based on information released by state health authorities at the time cases are announced.
Of more than ___ infections confirmed in Australia since June 1, ___ have been in Victoria, compared with ___ in NSW.
Only ___ of cases in Victoria are returned travellers in hotel quarantine, compared to ___ in NSW.
As in the first wave of infections, clusters are now re-appearing in environments where there are concentrations of people, usually in confined settings.
This includes places such as nursing homes, hospitals, public housing residential towers, meatworks, pubs and restaurants.
The chart below shows all current clusters with, cumulatively, more than 10 cases. (Hover over the bubbles to see the location.)
The chart below tracks the cumulative number of cases in each of the states and territories from the day it reached 10 cases.
It uses a log scale, which means each tick on the vertical axis is 10 times the value of the previous tick.
It shows ___ overtook NSW on July 10 as the jurisdiction with the most confirmed cases, making up ___ of the total number of infections.
NSW had held the top spot since March 3, when Australia’s total case count stood at just 41 and both the ACT and the NT were yet to record any diagnoses.
Victoria is followed by ___, then___.
This chart shows the total number of confirmed cases adjusted for population size. (It does not use a log scale.)
It reveals that ___ also has the most confirmed cases per capita, surpassing Tasmania on July 7. Tasmania held the grim title for 11 weeks before that, taking over from NSW on April 20.
___ has the lowest infections per 100,000, followed by ___.
Case numbers and diagnosis rates are heavily influenced by the rate of testing.
On May 15, the national number of tests per day surged past 32,300, based on the 7-day moving average. This followed a decision in late April to broaden Australia’s coronavirus testing regime to include anyone with flu-like symptoms.
The surge was largely driven by increased testing in Victoria, where the daily number of tests leapt more than five-fold, and NSW, where daily tests doubled.
A daily comparison of tests and new confirmed cases (using 7-day moving averages for both) suggests that in most states increased testing has not been matched by a rise in new cases.
Victoria is the exception. Here, daily tests plunged from a peak of nearly 16,600 in mid-May to less than 5,000 in early June. Then, in mid-June, a surge in locally-acquired infections sparked a second testing blitz, concentrated in “hotspot” suburbs of Melbourne.
This pushed the average number of tests per day in Victoria past 28,000 on July 12 a national record for the highest number of tests in a day.
However, new cases per day climbed from four to just under 200 over the same period, based on the 7-day moving average.
___ currently has the longest straight run without any new confirmed cases, tallying ___. It is followed by ___ and ____.
Tasmania holds the national record, counting 65 days before July 20, when state health authorities confirmed an infection in a woman who had returned to Tasmania from Victoria.
In other jurisdictions, the longest period without any new confirmed cases is 61 days in the NT, 35 days in NSW, 34 days in SA and the ACT, 27 days in Victoria, 15 days in Queensland and 12 days in WA.
Across the country, __ people or __ have recovered from the disease. SA is the only jurisdiction with no known active cases of COVID-19.
According to official counts by state health authorities, ___ confirmed cases still current or “active”.
However, this figure is affected by anomalies with the NSW tally, which tumbled from 330 to just five in June, following a series of changes to the definition of an “active case” by the state’s health authority.
The most recent change, announced on June 25, means the figure no longer includes cases acquired overseas nor cases where symptoms first appeared more than four weeks earlier regardless of whether or not the patient has been assessed as “recovered”.
This is out of step with other jurisdictions, where active case counts generally include all confirmed cases that are not recovered or deceased. (See notes at the end of this story for details.)
If NSW counted recoveries and current cases in line with other jurisdictions, its active case count would be around 460 cases higher.
The vast majority of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have not needed to be hospitalised.
The chart above shows the number of people in hospital, including in ICU, in each state and territory.
Of ___ current or “active” cases, only __ or __ are receiving hospital care.
This includes __ patients in ICU (or __ of current cases).
These hospitalisation figures are based on a snapshot of a point in time, rather than a cumulative count of patients hospitalised since the virus was first detected in Australia.
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The chart below tracks the number of cases state health authorities add or subtract daily from each source of infection category, as well as the number of cases still under investigation.
It differs from the chart on Likely source of infection because it shows both new cases and older cases shifted between categories because contact tracing uncovered fresh information.
Overseas-acquired infections plummeted after Australia shut its borders and banned travel abroad in late March. From about April 4, new cases were more likely to be acquired locally than overseas, although both overseas-acquired and locally-acquired infectionswere in decline.
This changed in mid-July. Locally-acquired infections in Australia climbed to record-breaking highs, fuelled by Victoria’s second-wave coronavirus cases.
This applies to both categories of locally spread infections that is, those linked to known contacts and outbreaks, as well as cases where the source of infection cannot be identified (also referred to as “community transmission”).
Nationally, nearly 120 cases a day are traced to known local sources, based on the 7-day moving average, with a record 189 cases added to this category on July 16. The previous daily record of 134 was set on March 27.
A further 70 cases a day, on average, are determined to be community transmission, with 116 cases added on July 16. The previous daily record of 89 was set on March 28.
As a result of the second wave, locally-acquired cases now outnumber overseas-acquired cases, for the first time since the outbreak began.
Nationally, ___ of all confirmed cases have been spread locally, compared with ___ detected in returned travellers.
However, these percentages vary substantially between states and territories. In Tasmania, for example, 65 per cent of confirmed cases were spread locally, compared with 14 per cent in WA.
Nationally, the source of infection remains unknown in ___ of confirmed cases, up from 5 per cent in late March.
Infections from unidentified sources now number __ nationally and account for ___ of all locally acquired cases.
On July 2, Victoria overtook NSW as the jurisdiction with the highest rate of community transmission, with authorities unable to identify the source of infection in nearly one in five confirmed cases.
Nationally, ___ people have died __.
The death of a Victorian man in his 80s on June 24 broke a month-long pause in Australia’s coronavirus deaths. It was the longest period without a death since authorities confirmed the country’s first coronavirus death on March 1.
The highest number of deaths was recorded on April 7. April 16 was the first day in almost three weeks with no deaths reported in Australia.
All of the deaths in Australia since May 22 have been in Victoria.
Most deaths have been of people aged 70 or older. (Tap/hover on a square for more details.)
At least __ cruise ship passengers and crew, and __ nursing home residents are among the dead.
Together, these two groups account for more than half of coronavirus deaths in Australia.
Nearly all the nursing home deaths were in Sydney. They include deaths at Anglicare’s Newmarch House near Penrith, six at Dorothy Henderson Lodge at Macquarie Park, and two at Opal Care Bankstown in Liverpool.
The Newmarch House figure excludes two residents who had reportedly recovered from coronavirus before they died, so are not counted in the NSW Health death toll.
In Tasmania, 12 of the state’s 13 deaths are linked to an outbreak in the state’s north-west, which forced the closure of two hospitals before Easter. Investigators found this cluster most likely began when two Ruby Princess passengers were admitted to the state’s North West Regional Hospital in late March.
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Key measures of the spread of infectious disease show that, so far, Australia has been largely successful in “flattening the curve”, although experts warn the situation could change quickly.
One way of tracking a disease’s growth rate is the daily percentage change in total confirmed cases.
This shows Australia’s growth rate has fallen from a peak of nearly 25 per cent in mid-March to less than 1 per cent since April 15, based on the 7-day moving average. The aim is to reach zero and stay there.
Another way of measuring the spread of disease is by how long it takes the number of confirmed cases to double also known as the “doubling time”.
This is easier to see when the number of confirmed cases is plotted on a log scale.
On the chart above, each tick on the vertical axis is 10 times the value of the previous tick.
The key element is the slope of the line. The steeper the line, the faster the growth rate. A horizontal or flat line means cases are no longer growing exponentially.
For most of March, Australia’s count of confirmed cases doubled every 3-4 days. However, it took a turn, slowing so much that by early April, it was taking a month or more for cases to double.
Australia’s trajectory is now flat, which means cases are no longer growing exponentially.
A similar kind of chart can be used to compare Australia’s growth rate to other countries.
This one uses the same log scale but rather than exact dates, it tracks each country’s cumulative case count from the day that country reached 100 cases. This brings each country onto the same timeline.
It shows that in many nations, including Australia, the number of confirmed infections grew rapidly early in the outbreak, doubling every 3 days or less.
However several countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, China and South Korea, have since managed to slow their growth rates and now have much flatter lines.
Data on the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19 show __, then __ and ___, have the highest positive test rates.
___ and ___ have the lowest.
Again, this is influenced by testing rates, since the broader the testing regime, the lower the odds of finding positive cases.
Adjusting testing figures for population shows ___ now has the highest rate of testing, taking the top spot from SA in mid-May.
It marked the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that SA had not held the top rank for the nations highest number of tests per capita.
However, Victoria’s testing numbers which had consistently lagged other states and territories prior to May surged following a weeks-long push that began in late April.
It is now roughly ___ the rate in ___, which has the nation’s lowest rate of testing.
___ and ___ have the second- and third-highest rates of testing, respectively.
Another way of looking at rates of testing is to compare the number of residents to the number of tests, both as a share of the national total.
___ accounts for ___ of Australias population but___of samples tested in Australia, while __ accounts for ___ of the population but ___of tests.
By contrast, ___ makes up ___ of the population but only ___of tests.
Similarly, ___ accounts for just over ___ of Australia’s population, but only ___of tests.
People ___ have the most confirmed cases of any age group.
Adjusting these numbers for the size of each age group (below) shows people __ also have the highest rate of confirmed cases per 100,000.
They are followed by people __ and people __, and then those ___.
Until the second wave of infections in June, people in their 60s and 70s had the highest rate of confirmed diagnoses.
Notes about this story

  • Data used in this story are provided by federal and state/territory governments, either from press conferences, official websites and reports, or press releases.
  • Federal and state/territory health authorities update their figures at different times of the day, so the numbers shown do not necessarily reflect the same point in time in each jurisdiction.
  • From March 27, federal government data come from a daily PDF emailed by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, titled “COVID-19 Update”. Prior to March 27, federal government data came from daily updates to the Department of Health website and a PDF “dashboard” also published by the Department of Health.
  • Cumulative vs new cases: From March 30, some states and territories began adjusting their case numbers as a result of false positive tests, double counting or historical cases. Often they do not advise when the errors occurred, so in most instances we revise the previous day’s new case count accordingly. For this reason, in some jurisdictions, new case counts may not match figures announced at the time and cumulative counts may not equal the sum of new cases.
  • Likely source of infection: In Victoria, “routine testing” excludes any testing of returned travellers in mandatory quarantine or in response to an outbreak, including testing of close contacts. As a result, ABC News has included these under Local – unknown. However, according to Victorian health authorities, these cases “are not classified as community transmission in the first instance”, as a thorough investigation is required before concluding that the source of transmission cannot be identified. This typically takes several days. Under investigation refers to cases that were received late in the day, so are yet to be classified.
  • Recoveries and current cases: Criteria for assessing whether a case is recovered or current/active differ by jurisdiction. Prior to June 12, Current cases = Total Confirmed minus Deaths minus Recovered, as reported by federal health authorities. From June 12, Current cases = Active cases as reported by state health authorities. Active case counts reported by NSW, Victoria and Qld do not equal Total Confirmed minus Deaths minus Recovered. As of June 25, the difference in NSW was more than 330 cases. In Qld and Victoria, the difference is less than 6 cases. NSW figures prior to April 21 were estimated by federal health authorities; from June 12 they exclude cases where recovery information was not available after six weeks; from June 25 they exclude cases acquired overseas and where symptoms developed more than four weeks earlier, regardless of recovery status. Both changes in methodology led to a steep drop in NSW’s current case count. Qld figures exclude less than five cases where recovery information is pending. Victoria excludes two cases with no LGA information.
  • Tests: On May 26 NSW changed to reporting the number of tests, rather than people tested, bringing it into line with other jurisdictions. On July 1, ABC News adjusted NSW testing figures up to and including May 25 to also report the number of tests. As a result, data to May 26 is sourced from NSW COVID-19 tests data; from May 26 it is sourced from the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s daily COVID-19 update. On May 27 Victoria received more than 20,000 delayed negative test results. On June 6, it removed a large number of duplicate negative results. There were no changes to the way it reports testing figures. On June 16 and 17, WA did not update testing figures “due to technical issues”. This led to a jump in figures on June 18, which ABC News has distributed across the three dates. From June 27, WA no longer updates testing figures on weekends. Tasmanian health authorities have not responded to questions about unusual testing figures for June 16, 17 and 18. Qld figures from May 22 to June 21, inclusive, have been adjusted to account for 38,500 delayed negative test results added in bulk on June 22. Specifically, ABC News has added 1,242 daily tests to each of the 31 days affected by the delay.
  • Deaths: As of May 5, data on coronavirus-related deaths also rely on figured provided by Anglicare, the operators of the Newmarch House aged care facility in Sydney.
  • Source of infection: Between April 10 and 14, NSW moved a large number of cases between Source of infection categories, effectively reallocating 11 cases from Local – Unknown to Overseas. ABC News has adjusted the daily figures to reflect this.
  • Age and sex: Data are from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. It lags both federal and state/territory figures but is the most up-to-date source of age data at the national level. It is updated daily.
  • Cases and tests per 100,000: Population figures sourced from ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, Sept 2019
  • On June 20, this story changed from 5-day moving averages to 7-day moving averages, to account for weekday/weekend fluctuations in testing figures.
  • Dates refer to the date the case was reported by authorities, except in these instances:
    – The 5th, 6th and 7th confirmed cases in Victoria have been assigned to the date they were first cited in official press releases. These cases were first announced on March 1, as having recovered from the virus.
    – Dates for the 7th and 8th confirmed cases in Queensland (Diamond Princess cruise ship evacuees) are based on ABC News reports. The 9th confirmed Queensland case, another Diamond Princess evacuee, was first announced in a press release on March 3.

First posted
March 17, 2020 05:49:54
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