The total COVID-19 cases in Australia have been far lower than hard-hit countries such as the U.S. (nearly 2.7 million cases), Brazil (more than 1.3 million cases) and Russia (more than 646,900 cases), according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the latest update from the Australian Government Department of Health, there were 7,824 cases and 104 deaths.
However, the recent jump in cases largely stems from the Australian state of Victoria, which reported 75 of Monday’s 85 new cases, with another 64 reported cases on Tuesday.
“As expected, given we have no immunity from this virus, we are seeing an increase in cases in Australia,” said Dr. Nick Coatsworth, deputy medical officer, in a video posted to Facebook. “This is part of living with the virus and will be part of our lives until a vaccine or effective treatment is found.”
Coatsworth added the increase in locally acquired cases in Victoria is being driven by multiple linked outbreaks across a range of settings including family households, hotels providing quarantine services, retail business, schools, childcare centers and healthcare centers, among others.
The deputy medical officer explained 15 patients are currently hospitalized and one is in the intensive care unit, as of Monday.
Victoria has started a so-called “testing blitz” with targeted testing across 10 suburbs. The blitz has a target of 100,000 tests over 10 days, according to Coatsworth.
While the recent uptick surpasses caseloads as of late, it does not surpass peaks reported in March and April, where daily figures pushed past 460 on March 28.
“As a nation we have been exceptionally successful in controlling COVID-19 so far,” Coatsworth said. “There is no reason to expect that will be any different in the future.”