Victorian authorities admit the second wave is ‘pretty stubborn to shift’ as they report 357 new cases and five deaths

The federal government has launched a specialist aged care response centre to address the surging number of Covid-19 cases spreading through Victorian facilities, as authorities acknowledge measures taken to quash the states second wave of the virus have not yet led to lower numbers.
Victoria recorded 357 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, a continuation of high numbers that the chief health officer, Brett Sutton, described as pretty stubborn to shift, with a further five deaths in the state taking Australias pandemic death toll to 145.
The governments announcement came as most other states and territories saw no increases in cases, with the exception of New South Wales, which recorded 15 new Covid-19 cases amid a further crackdown on restriction compliance.
However, the growth in Victorian numbers means there are 538 cases among residents and staff across 38 aged care facilities in the state, with the new Victorian aged care response centre established to centrally coordinate quality control of the workforce in facilities experiencing outbreaks.
Rapidly responding to outbreaks as they are identified and improving communications to family members of affected residents will also be the focus of the new centre, which will be jointly managed by Emergency Management Australia and Victoria Health. It will also work with aged care providers to ensure casual staff in facilities arent working across more than one facility.
The establishment of the aged care response centre comes as experts in the sector blame undertrained casual workers who are made to move between homes to make a living, calling the current outbreaks in facilities absolutely foreseeable.
Announcing the centre on Saturday, the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, said the centre is a very important step forward in helping to coordinate, helping to ensure rapid response where these cases are occurring.
He also announced there were now 1,470 Australian Defence Force personnel assisting with Victorias Covid-19 response, including knocking on the front doors of Victorians who have not answered phone calls from contact tracers.
As difficult and as challenging as it is, my overwhelming view is that we will see over time, not immediately, these numbers fall.
Hunt also reflected that Victorian numbers were stable, but significant, adding that he thought it was inevitable that further lives would be lost.
There were 15 new coronavirus cases recorded in NSW on Saturday, as leaders announced they were ramping up compliance checks at pubs across the state after a spate of breaches and $5,000 fines handed out in the past few days.
NSW Health authorities issued a warning for several Sydney churches and a funeral after four new cases linked to the services were confirmed on Saturday, as contact tracers linked the cluster back to a woman in her 40s who attended various services in the middle of July.
That announcement came after authorities on Friday evening announced three schools in western Sydney would be shut after four pupils tested positive for Covid-19, all of them linked back to the Thai Rock restaurant cluster, which, with 60 confirmed cases, has overtaken the Crossroads hotel cluster.
South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland recorded no new cases on Saturday, however the latter state reimposed a ban on pub-goers at bars or high tables in an attempt to ensure patrons remain seated when gathering indoors.
Western Australia recorded no new cases of Covid-19 for the seventh straight day on Saturday, however blood testing turned up two historical cases that are not being treated as active.