Victoria hits new record-high COVID-19 daily death toll

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Australian state of Victoria has recorded 394 new COVID-19 cases, a drop compared with previous days, but its death toll has reached a new record.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed 17 new deaths on Sunday alongside the daily case numbers. The previous highest daily death toll was 15, which was recorded on Wednesday. It brings the state's overall total of cases to 14,659 and the death toll to 210, according to ABC.

The deaths include two males in their 50s, four males in their 70s, four females and two males in their 80s, and two females and three males in their 90s, Andrews says.

"To each of those families, we send our sincere condolence, our sympathies, our best wishes. This will be an incredibly difficult time for them and I want them to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to do everything we possibly can to deal with this second wave and to get beyond it."

Another 174 cases are classed as a "mystery" since they don't have a known source. There are 2758 mystery cases in Victoria.

"So that's 174 of those mystery cases which are, in many respects, our biggest challenge. Even large numbers in known contained outbreaks are, to a certain extent, less significant than the smaller number of cases where we simply can't find the circumstance or the point of origin," Andrews says.

The state government also announced AU$59.7 million (NZ$64.7 million) for mental health services, which includes $250,000 towards counselling services for nurses, midwives and personal carers.

Victoria's Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley says he's seen increased demands on families and carers during the pandemic.

"The pandemic is stressful. The pandemic is seeing anxiety and depression levels rise quite substantially, but there is help out there. There is support out there."

He says there's been a 9.5 percent increase year-on-year with people presenting to emergency departments for self-harm.

"For young people under 18, we've seen a 33 percent increase in presentations for people with self-harm in emergency departments. And overall, across all aspects of how mental illness is presented at our emergency departments, we've seen a 23.3 percent increase in people presenting in those acute settings with a mental illness," he says.

"All levels of government are coordinating and cooperating at an unprecedented level with record levels of support to make sure that that message of hope, of resilience and recovery is at the forefront of what we do."