Coronavirus Australia LIVE updates: Victoria seeks 16th straight day of no new cases; NSW aims for ‘gold standard’; Australia’s death toll sits at 907

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'This will change lives': $5.3 billion social-housing construction blitz

Victoria will pump $5.3 billion into building more than 12,000 homes within four years to tackle homelessness and create construction jobs in the biggest single spend on social housing in the state’s history.

After decades of under-investment, the number of households on the social-housing waiting list in Victoria had ballooned to 48,529 as of September 30, the equivalent of more than 100,000 people.

Housing Minister Richard Wynne: “Without doubt this is the biggest commitment by any state government ever.”Credit:Darrian Traynor

Construction of 9300 new social-housing homes – including replacing 1100 old public housing units – will be one of the cornerstones of this month's state budget.

Social housing includes both public and community housing and is provided to people on low incomes, with priority given to those who have experienced homelessness, family violence or mental health issues.

Victoria has the lowest proportion of social housing in Australia. Only 3.2 per cent of Victoria’s housing stock is social housing – about 81,000 dwellings – below the national average of 4.2 per cent.

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Victoria wrongly assessed one in eight 'mystery' cases as 515 cases reclassified

One in eight of Victoria's coronavirus 'mystery' cases was erroneously deemed to have come from an unknown source, with 515 cases reclassified on Saturday thanks to a new contact tracing algorithm.

The algorithm, devised by Health Department epidemiologists, combed through old cases and managed to draw links with other cases through factors such as workplaces and shared locations.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng revealed 515 mystery cases have been reclassified.Credit:Getty Images

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said Victoria's 'mystery' case tally since the start of the pandemic had consequently dropped from 4277 to 3762 on Saturday.

He admitted this was primarily due to Victoria's maligned contact tracing system becoming overwhelmed as the second wave peaked at 725 new cases in one day and over 7000 concurrent active cases.

"I think clearly it was a very busy time … and at the time our focus was on trying to make sure of absolute close contacts and making sure that we tried to control it that way, at that time," Professor Cheng said.

"But now that we've had the luxury of sitting back and developing algorithms to look back through the data, we can start to clean up the data. It's obviously not of any consequence for what happened back then but it is important for us going forward to have a complete and accurate data set to do analyses from."

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NSW budget throws another $1.6 billion at 'gold standard' COVID strategy

The NSW government will pump a further $1.6 billion this financial year into its "gold standard" COVID-19 health response, including funds for hundreds of testing clinics to stay open in 2021 and support for the state's sizeable contact tracing infrastructure.

This week's budget will include $500 million for COVID testing clinics, quarantine arrangements and increased pathology testing and contact tracing, as well as $458.5 million to fast track elective surgeries that were delayed to create hospital capacity at the height of the pandemic.

Nurses prepare to conduct COVID-19 tests at Bondi Beach testing clinic in Sydney. Credit:Getty/Lisa Maree Williams

Another $385 million will be spent on more personal protective equipment for health workers, and $20 million is committed to fast track research and clinical trials.

The $1.6 billion started flowing from July 1 and takes to more than $3 billion the amount NSW has spent on its COVID-19 health response.

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Sutton trying to join the rest of us on the beers

Bright Brewery appeared to be enjoying a bumper turnout of people as Victorians flocked back to regional Victoria this weekend but sadly chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton wasn't able to join them.

The Brewery, located in the Northern Victorian town, was at capacity and couldn't find a spot for the man who was one of the faces of Victoria's COVID-19 response due to caps on the number of patrons they could allow in.

In a facebook post, Bright Brewery wrote:

"SORRY YOU COULDN’T GET ON THE BEERS, MR SUTTON // Proving that literally all of Melbourne is in Bright this weekend, we had to turn away the Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, twice today! Pictured here with our long-time bar staffer Wayne, Mr Sutton was a great sport when our staff explained that under his own COVID-restrictions, we unfortunately did not have the space to seat him. We’re sorry you couldn’t, in Premier Dan Andrews’ words, “Get On The Beers” with us, Brett – but we hope to see you again once restrictions ease! So the lesson is: it doesn’t matter who you are – if you’re planning to come and visit us, please book ahead! That includes you, Mr Sutton!"

Good morning all

G'day everyone and welcome to yet another COVID-19 live blog!

I'm Roy Ward and I'll be joining you today's live blog. Sadly it will be our last daily COVID-19 blog but our coverage of stories, videos and more will continue just as strongly on the website, our dedication Coronavirus pandemic section and our COVID-19 newsletter.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog or shoot me a tweet at @rpjward on Twitter.

Enjoy the day to come.

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