Victoria has reported 1,638 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and two deaths as a Melbourne principal was temporarily suspended after urging students to attend school during the lockdown.
The health department confirmed the latest cases and deaths on Thursday, bringing the current epidemic toll to 70.
This is the eighth day in a row that the state has reported more than 1,100 cases, with active infections exceeding 15,000.
More than 77,000 Victorians were tested for the virus in the 24 hours leading up to Thursday morning, while 36,672 vaccines were administered at state-run sites.
The latest figures come as a Melbourne principal temporarily lost enrollment after allowing students to attend his school in violation of COVID-19 restrictions.
More than 30 cases of coronavirus have been linked to last month’s outbreak at Fitzroy Community School, which has spread to students, teachers and family contacts.
The independent primary school of 60 students urged all parents to send their children to class, a decision it publicly defended.
Principal Timothy Berryman has been provisionally suspended by the Victorian Institute of Teaching, pending an investigation. The suspension went into effect on Wednesday.
VIT has the power to suspend a teacher’s enrollment if it considers that “the teacher presents an unacceptable risk of harming children” or that it is “necessary to protect children”.
Meanwhile, authorities are rushing to identify vulnerable young patients who have been exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak at a cancer ward at Melbourne Children’s Hospital.
The relative of a patient spent at least four days at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville while he was contagious between October 1 and 4.
The hospital’s Kookaburra Cancer Care Unit has been identified as a level one exhibit site, and its Main Street walkway was listed as a level two site for September 26.
RCH chief executive Bernadette McDonald said all affected patients, relatives or caregivers had been placed in individual rooms at the hospital to be quarantined for 14 days.
No child in the cancer ward had tested positive Wednesday evening, but the hospital has 12 COVID-19 positive patients in its care, including four in other wards and eight treated at home.
BREAKDOWN OF CASES BY STATE
VIC – 1,638 new local cases, two deaths
NSW – TBD
QLD – to be determined
ACT – To be determined
WA – To be determined
NT – to be determined
SA – to be determined
TAS – to be determined