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Victoria records 17,636 new COVID cases

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Victoria has recorded 17,636 new COVID-19 cases, with nearly one in three tests coming back positive.

There were 11 deaths reported in Wednesday’s figures, with testing numbers dropping slightly below 60,000 again.

Active cases are now at 51,317.

There are 591 people in hospital and 20 on ventilators.

By 8 am more than 30 state-run sites had temporarily suspended testing because they reached capacity and by 9 am it was more than 40 sites.

That’s on top of 54 testing sites run by four private pathology providers, which have temporarily suspended operations until at least January 9 to allow their labs to catch up on a backlog of tests.

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the providers — 4Cyte, Australian Clinical Labs, Melbourne Pathology and Dorevitch — are responsible for three-quarters of processing in Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews will interrupt his leave on Wednesday to attend national cabinet.

The first national cabinet meeting of 2022 will address community concerns around access to rapid antigen tests, which have soared to five times their regular price in some places – up to $50 per test.

Victoria’s supply of 34 million rapid tests is expected to arrive and roll out later this week, Mr Weimar said.

He has also flagged the launch of a website allowing people to upload their RAT results and be officially counted in the daily numbers once there is confidence of supply.

– AAP

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