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Victoria has recorded 26 new local COVID-19 cases, its highest daily total this year

Victoria has recorded 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, taking the number of active cases in the current outbreak to 146.

It is the highest daily total of the latest outbreak to date and comes from more than 43,000 tests over the past 24 hours.

Two new cases of COVID-19 were also reported in hotel quarantine.

The state reported 22 new local cases on Wednesday.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Wednesday he believed community transmission in Victoria had peaked but expected more household cases to emerge.

He also warned the number of people in intensive care could grow, given the severity of the Delta variant.

There are currently five people in hospital with COVID-19, including a man from Barwon Heads in intensive care.

Some 18,000 primary close contacts are self-isolating across the state, while the number of exposure sites has grown to more than 380.

New tier 1 exposure sites added to the list include venues in Beaconsfield, Berwick, Box Hill South, Carlton, Dandenong, Derrimut and Port Melbourne.

For a full list of exposure sites, click here.

Prahran Market in Melbourne’s inner southeast is yet to appear on the government’s official exposure site list but has been shut for deep cleaning after a positive case visited on Saturday between 9.40am and 11.15am.

The market said the health department has declared the entire building a tier-one exposure site, meaning anyone who visited during the time period must get tested and quarantine for 14 days.

More support for businesses
The state government announced an additional $282.5 million in grants on Wednesday to help 90,000 businesses hit hard by the extended lockdown.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund grants will be increased from $3,000 to $7,200, while the state’s Business Costs Assistance Program increases from $2,000 to $4,800.

Businesses and sole traders that received support during the fourth lockdown last month will automatically receive the funds to their chosen bank account.

Those who did apply last month, or who had been ineligible or has since become eligible, will be able to apply for a grant online.

Businesses in Victoria’s alpine region, the public events industry and community sporting clubs are also eligible for additional grants.

The federal and state governments are jointly funding income support for Victorians who have lost work or income due to the lockdown, the state’s fifth.