Victoria has recorded 5,137 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths as testing centres continue to be overwhelmed by demand.
It is the third day in a row the state has set a new record for daily cases, after 3,767 cases were reported on Wednesday.
The state government has told Victorians it expects cases to follow a similar trajectory to New South Wales, which today reported more than 12,000 cases.
Hospitalisations usually lag behind cases by a week or more but have remained steady so far, with the seven-day average hovering around 379 for the past three days.
There are 395 people in hospital with active COVID-19 infections, of whom 55 are in intensive care and 23 are on a ventilator.
The health department said a further 45 people were in ICU but their infections were no longer considered active.
Victorian intensive care clinicians have told the ABC around 94 per cent of the COVID-19 patients in intensive care have not received two doses of a vaccine.
As of Wednesday, 92.8 per cent of Victorians aged 12 or older had received two doses of a vaccine.
The new cases were detected from 81,093 test results processed yesterday.
There are now 23,833 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 696 people have died during the current outbreak.
Pathology company says ‘perfect storm’ set the scene for testing delays
There continues to be high demand at testing centres, with 10 facilities forced to turn people away shortly after opening this morning.
Some people have also reported delays of several days in receiving their test results.
Pathology laboratory 4Cyte said in a statement that it warned the Victorian and Queensland governments three weeks ago that testing requirements for travel were going to create a problem for pathology companies handling tests.
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The pathology company logged almost 100,000 phone calls in one day last week as people tried to chase up delayed test results.
4Cyte said the travel requirements, along with the rising number of cases had “resulted in the perfect storm of a massive amount of people getting tested”.
“Our staff have worked non-stop for the last three weeks, including the public holidays in an attempt to help people with their holiday plans and celebrations,” a 4Cyte spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the Victorian opposition has criticised the Andrews government after its announcement yesterday that the state had secured 34 million rapid testing kits.
Former opposition leader Michael O’Brien said on Twitter that he advocated for greater use of the rapid tests months ago as a way of helping the state reopen.
Premier Daniel Andrews has returned from leave today to attend a meeting of national cabinet called by the Prime Minister to consider a significant change in the way close contacts are managed across the country.
There were 3,775 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites yesterday, as well as more vaccinations at GP clinics and other venues.