Victoria has recorded 1,173 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and nine more people have died a day after protesters celebrated being “superspreaders”.
The health department confirmed on Sunday the state is now managing 16,413 active cases.
There are 568 Victorians in hospital, of whom 96 are in intensive care including 63 on ventilators. The numbers are slightly down from Saturday.
About 83 per cent of people aged over 12 are fully vaccinated.
The latest figures come as organisers of protests against vaccine mandates and proposed pandemic laws have vowed to return to the streets of Melbourne every week until their demands are met.
A crowd of protesters marched through the CBD on Saturday, looking to “kill the bill” heading for the upper house that would give the Victorian government specific pandemic powers as an alternative to state of emergency declarations that need to be renewed every four weeks.
The Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 needs the support of three of the 11 crossbenchers to pass and give the premier the power to declare a pandemic and extend emergency conditions for three months at a time for as long as considered necessary.
A woman addressed protesters just after 2pm, saying the Andrews government’s proposed bill is “unlawful” and “needs to be invalidated”.
Shortly after, a man took to the stage and said “thank you my fellow superspreaders”, which was met with applause.
“Tomorrow the hospitals will be full,” he said.
The protesters dispersed after about four hours.
The final day of the Melbourne Cup racing carnival also went ahead on Saturday after deep cleaning was carried out in response to two positive cases in a contractor and a patron at the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
Crowds remained capped to 10,000 for Stakes Day.
The Victorian Racing Club sent bouquets of roses from Flemington Racecourse rose bushes to Royal Melbourne Hospital on Friday as “a special thank you to frontline workers”.
NSW records one new death, 244 cases
Meanwhile, there has been 244 new local COVID-19 cases in New South Wales along with one further death.
Some 269 virus patients remain in hospitals around the state, 52 of them in intensive care.
Health officials say COVID-19 testers processed more than 70,000 results in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.
NSW has now vaccinated 89.7 per cent of people aged 16 and over, while 93.9 per cent have at least had one jab.
However, concerns remain over the number of new cases being detected in regional NSW.