News / COVID-19

Brunswick COVID cases surge past 500 again

Active case load is the highest since the tail end of the first Omicron wave in January

Registered nurse Megan Subah from Western Health examines a COVID-19 vaccine at the Brunswick Town Hall pop up centre recently.

Staff writer
Thursday, March 17, 2022

THE number of active COVID-19 cases in Brunswick has exceeded 500 for the first time since January as an infectious new sub-variant has rapidly spread through the community.

Brunswick, Brunswick West and Brunswick East had 500 active cases on Thursday after a second day of new cases in triple figures.

That is the highest number of active cases since January 25, when the three suburbs recorded 556 active cases.

Though well below the peaks of the Omicron strain in mid-January, the numbers in Brunswick have been steadily rising since the start of the month due to the spread of the infectious BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron. The number of active cases is sitting just under 10 per 1000 people in the three suburbs.

The three suburbs recorded 134 new cases on Thursday after 126 new cases on Wednesday, the most since January 17.

The rise in Brunswick mirrors the statewide trend. Victoria has had more than 9000 new cases for each of the past two days, the most since the start of February, and on Thursday had 44,690 active cases, including 197 in hospital.

The entire City of Moreland had 307 new cases on Thursday and 1347 active cases.

Health experts have warned this week that those numbers will continue to grow because of both the variant’s highly infections nature and the onset of cooler weather. The relaxation of capacity restrictions and mask mandates at the end of February is also seen as fanning the increased infections.

Vaccination rates in Brunswick and Coburg remain stalled below 80%, with 79.9% of the eligible population having received one dose and 78.7% double dosed.

Those numbers have barely changed in the past month. The percentage of eligible people who are triple vaccinated is still rising from 69.2% at the end of February to 72% at the start of this week.

Moreland council and the state government continue to hold pop up clinics in Brunswick, including at the Cypriot Community of Melbourne building in Brunswick East on March 3 and the Brunswick Town Hall on February 26 and 27.

But when Brunswick Voice visited the town hall clinic, it was virtually empty apart from health workers despite the incentive of a free pass to the Brunswick Baths.