Victoria’s young and unvaccinated remain the most vulnerable to COVID-19 as the state reported 450 new virus cases.
More than 42,760 COVID tests were taken during the 24 hours up to midnight, with Melbourne still in lockdown.
Of the 450 infections reported on Saturday – the highest number of daily cases in Victoria’s latest outbreak – 75 have been linked to known cases and outbreaks.
Victoria now has 2793 total active cases, including 407 children under nine years old, 449 people aged between 10 and 19 years old, 97 people in their 20s, and 485 people in their 30s.
“We continue to see this outbreak being concentrated in the young and the unvaccinated,” Victorian health minister Martin Foley told reporters.
The state has 143 people in hospital with COVID-19, up 17 from Friday, with 34 of those people in intensive care units and 26 of them on a ventilator.
Eighty-nine per cent of those people in hospital have had no vaccination jab, while 11 per cent of them have had one dose.
None of them are fully vaccinated.
“The message is pretty clear – being fully vaccinated keeps you safe, keeps you out of hospital and, more importantly, keeps those that you love and are supporting in your community safe,’ Mr Foley said.
There were 39,148 vaccinations administered at state-run clinics on Friday, but more than 11,000 Astra-Zeneca vaccination bookings remain available in Victoria.
Victorian women are who more than 24 weeks pregnant will get priority access at state-run vaccine hubs from Sunday, Mr Foley added.
Monash Health obstetric services director Associate Professor Ryan Hodges said COVID-19 infections made pregnant women five times more likely to need a hospital visit.
Half of those women, he said, would need emergency delivery of their baby, with a 25 per cent chance of a premature birth and the risk of having a stillborn doubled.
“We don’t want to be delivering babies at 24 weeks,” Dr Hodges said.
“These babies are tiny, they have significant short-term health problems, significant long-term health problems.
“We want to see them big, fat and strong at the end.”
And while more than 70 per cent of Saturday’s new cases were recorded in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, there were eight new cases in regional Victoria, including five in Geelong, one in Cohuna, one in Daylesford and one in Beveridge.
This comes as most of regional Victoria except Greater Shepparton emerged from lockdown on Friday, with retail and hospitality allowed to reopen under strict rules.
But Mr Foley said there were no plans for a snap lockdown.
“There’s no plans at this time to take such measures, but they are always informed by public health advice, and they will continue to be so,” he said.
“All the decisions that public health officials take – and that the government supports – are based on public health advice.
“And they of course look every day, every hour, at the patterns of transmission and the stories behind where the cases are.”
Shepparton is expected to be released from its lockdown next week, while people in Melbourne are waiting for the state government to announce its plans to ease restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews earlier said the government is waiting for detailed modelling from the Burnett Institute before making an announcement.