New infections surge to an all-time high as Victoria records 7442 COVID cases, nine deaths

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Victoria has recorded nine deaths and 7442 new coronavirus cases on New Year’s Day as Melburnians brace for longer testing times over the weekend with some sites expected to close due to the extreme heat.

As the state hit another record daily tally of new COVID-19 cases, NSW recorded 22,507 new coronavirus cases.

Despite rising coronavirus cases, people flocked to the CBD to welcome 2022.Credit:Joe Armao

Saturday’s Victorian case numbers, which have spiked for the fifth day in a row, bring the number of active cases in the state to 24,161. The previous record for Victoria was set on Friday, with 5919 COVID-19 cases.

The number of people in hospitals in Victoria with COVID-19 has risen to 451, and 98 people are in the intensive care unit. Of those, 51 still have active COVID-19 infections, and 21 are on a ventilator while the seven-day hospitalisation average has jumped to 406 from 392 on Friday.

The figures come after health officials warned Melburnians some testing sites may be forced to close over the weekend due to the extreme heat.

Testing queues at The Alfred hospital on New Year’s Eve.Credit:Wayne Taylor

Authorities have asked anyone seeking a COVID-19 test to visit their website before leaving home in case the site they planned to attend had been closed for the day.

People who don’t have any symptoms are being encouraged to seek at Rapid Antigen Test instead of a PCR test, however, a PCR test should remain the choice of close contacts or Victorians unable to access a rapid test.

Victorians who test positive to COVID-19 on a rapid test will soon be able to create unique codes that store their test results online to be included in official figures, as people forgo PCR testing due to unpalatable waiting times and site closures.

The Age

has confirmed existing government IT infrastructure that allows people to create unique codes to store their PCR test results online is likely to be used to allow people to upload their rapid test results, as use of at-home tests overtakes the PCR system.

The figures also come after spectators at Moulin Rouge! The Musical were told to leave Melbourne’s Regent Theatre mid-show on Friday after a staff member within the company tested positive for COVID-19.

The performance was cancelled for the day and audience members were told they would be contacted by the ticketing company.

“We made the decision to discontinue this afternoon’s performance of Moulin Rouge! The Musical after a positive COVID-19 test result within the wider company was made known to us,” she said.

Audience memebers leave the Regent Theatre after the abrupt end to the show.Credit:Nine News

“We will have an update regarding future performances as soon as possible.”

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