Victoria’s COVID-19 hospitalisations rise to 1,054 as state records 23 deaths

Victoria’s COVID-19 hospitalisations have risen to 1,054, up from 976 reported on Friday, and the state has recorded a further 23 deaths.

Of the patients in hospital, there are 115 in intensive care, 30 of whom are on ventilators.

There are now at least 227,105 active cases in the state, and the death toll of the current outbreak has risen to 858.

The state recorded 25,526 new infections but with testing networks overwhelmed, the true number of cases is likely to be much higher.

The new cases were reported from 12,669 PCR results and 12,857 at-home rapid antigen tests (RATs).

About 22 per cent of Victorian adults have received three doses of a vaccine so far.

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Overnight, the state government confirmed about 91,000 Victorians had received text messages informing them that their PCR tests were no longer valid and could not be processed.

Private pathology providers Melbourne Pathology, ACL and Dorevitch yesterday began to inform those who are affected, with more messages expected to be sent in coming days.

The health department said those who received a message should take a RAT and isolate for seven days if they had symptoms.

The department said it was working with private providers to clear their current backlog of tests waiting to be processed, and that the wait-time for PCR results was expected to go down.

Arts groups get millions to fund recovery

The State Government has announced it will award $85 million to more than 100 arts organisations to help them plan for a post-pandemic future.

The sector has been smashed by the pandemic, as one of the first industries to close and last to reopen.

Grant recipients include the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, local community organisations and five First Nations artists groups.

Kee’ahn Bindol is a full-time musician.(Supplied)

Singer-songwriter Kee’ahn Bindol said giving funding to organisations that staged gigs would support many local artists.

“I just do music full-time and need to earn and live off music,” she said.

“There’s not really much support otherwise, so getting back out there is what I need to do.”

Cellist Zoe Knighton, from the Flinders Quartet, said she had been surprised at how she could survive on a smaller budget, but she had missed being able to express herself as an artist.

“If we’re not on the stage making art and sharing that with an audience, then we lose our sense of identity,” she said.

Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson said the funding would provide certainty to organisations ranging “from internationally acclaimed companies to grassroots collectives, social enterprises, fashion labels and festivals”.

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