Covid hits public services in Victoria

Victoria has recorded 37,994 new cases of Covid-19 and 13 deaths, as the virus continues to impact public services, including ambulances.

The state’s new infections include 18,503 rapid antigen tests and 19,491 PCR tests, the health department said Tuesday.

There are 861 hospitalized patients, 43 more than the day before, including 117 in intensive care and 27 on ventilation.

The state is managing 171,369 active cases.

The latest figures come as paramedics warn there will be delays in ambulances reaching people for the second time in a week.

Ambulance Victoria said it was experiencing “extremely high demand for ambulances” in metropolitan Melbourne.

“It is likely that there will be a delay in the arrival of an ambulance,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Our priority is to provide care for Victorians in need of life-saving help.”

AV urged Victorians to only use triple zero in an emergency and to contact Nurse On Call or see their GP if their illness is not an emergency.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transportation said there could be service disruptions over the “coming weeks” with large numbers of employees in isolation.

“Due to driver availability, there may be changes to some public transportation services,” the department said.

“Passengers are advised to allow extra journey time. The Department for Transport continues to work closely with public transport operators to minimize the impact on passengers and to ensure the health and well-being of our staff and our passengers.”

The number of people using public transport is currently 29% of pre-COVID levels.

The state government announced on Monday that new pandemic orders will come into effect at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

As part of the changes, the state will impose vaccine reminders for critical workers, indoor dance floors will close, and food workers will be exempt from isolation rules.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the prescriptions were needed to counter the “significant spike” in infections and rising hospitalizations.