Victoria will broaden its testing criteria for COVID-19 from today to anybody who has a fever or acute respiratory symptoms.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the new testing criteria was now the widest in the nation.
“This is, in fact, the most generous, the widest testing criteria that exists in the nation at the moment.”
Testing is available at the state’s 40 fever clinics, pop-up GP clinics and by some GPs.
The announcement comes as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said testing criteria has been relaxed for people in several community transmission hotspots of NSW.
Those living in Penrith, Inner West, Liverpool, Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra, Blacktown, Cumberland, Westmead, Ryde, Manning and Lake Macquarie are also only required to have the relevant symptoms to qualify for testing.
The Victorian government will also recruit 120 paramedics from next month to help with the state’s COVID-19 response.
The new paramedics were initially planned to be hired next financial year but this would now be brought forward, Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
“That is about us making sure every part of our health system is as prepared as it possibly could be. As part of that recruitment, there will be more paramedics on the road, and also the secondary triage service,” Ms Mikakos said.
An adult ambulance retrieval service, which transports critically ill patients from regional communities to hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne, will also be expanded to a 24-hour service over the next six months for the first time.
“This is making sure that all Victorians – no matter where they live – can get the support they will need as part of our COVID-19 response,” Ms Mikakos said.
Victoria’s latest coronavirus cases
Victoria has recorded 10 new cases of the coronavirus overnight, bringing the state’s total to 1291.
Ms Mikakos confirmed there have been no more deaths in the state, with the death toll remaining at 14.
There are currently 40 people being treated for COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals, including 15 patients who are in intensive care.
Cases include 672 men and 619 women, with people aged from babies to their early nineties.
There are 122 confirmed cases of coronavirus that may have been acquired through community transmission.
Ms Mikakos said the good news was that the vast majority of COVID-19 patients in Victoria had recovered from the illness.
“We have 1118 people who have recovered. So, there are about a little more than 200 active cases of COVID-19 at the moment,” Ms Mikakos said.
The minister thanked Victorians for doing the right thing over Easter and staying home to save lives.
While the numbers of new cases were looking promising, Ms Mikakos warned it was still early days.
“I’m feeling relatively optimistic in the past week in terms of the slowing down of the growth in new cases, but it is still early at this point to be making prediction about when the restrictions will be lifted.”
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