REGIONAL Victoria's COVID-19 outbreaks were "generally pretty stable" on Saturday, Victoria's COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said.
"In regional Victoria [we have had] 52 cases in the last 24 hours," he said.
That included nine new cases in the Mitchell Shire, which borders the City of Greater Bendigo's municipality south of Heathcote.
Mr Weimar said there were eight in Shepparton. Seven in Latrobe, four in Ararat, four in Ballarat and five in Geelong."
He said there were a few isolated cases elsewhere in the state. It is unclear whether there are any in central Victorian municipalities the Bendigo Advertiser covers but updates are expected later on Sunday.
INTENSIVE care nurses have used an at times emotional press conference to urge people to get vaccinated so that they do not become one of the people who could have avoided dying alone.
They have urged people to get vaccinated ahead of the state's reopening, when a surge of cases are expected to inundate hospitals.
Most of those currently in hospital right now are not fully vaccinated.
The Royal Melbourne's Michelle Spence said one of the saddest things she had seen in the last few weeks was people begging to be vaccinated.
"That is the absolute truth. I've seen it myself. They are begging for the vaccination.
"They are very young and once we get them ... and are about to put them on life support, it is really too late."
She said their families often beg for the vaccine as well.
Ms Spence said that since the end of July the Royal Melbourne had had 90 patients.
"I want to let you know that not one of those 90 were fully vaccinated, not one: That's not just Royal Melbourne, that's every ICU that we are seeing," she said.
"You might think 90 is not actually that high a number, but as well as the 90 patients with COVID, we've seen 750 other patients, trauma, stroke, cancer services. Those patients do not go away."
"They absolutely need our care as well and we need beds available for every patient. We often run at 100% capacity and we know the next few months will be really, really tough."
Epping Northern Hospital manager Jacqui Harper said that by the time patients arrived they were seriously ill.
"One minute they are sitting in a chair, an hour later they could be saying their goodbyes," she said.
"They find it difficult to breathe, some needing high levels of oxygen, ventilators and ICU support.
"It is difficult for our patients unable to see their loved ones. We have to hold the iPads for them."
VICTORIA has recorded 1220 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to midnight, a decrease on the all-time high of 1488 the day before.
Health workers are now grappling with an outbreak that sits at 11,785 active cases.
They have also marked the death of three people.
Another 71,275 people were tested yesterday and 36,248 received a vaccination.
Meanwhile, the Victorian opposition has called for rapid testing of public transport workers after new disruptions, this time in Melbourne.
They follow recent disruptions on V/Line services including trains linking Bendigo to Melbourne.
Separately, protesters again took to the streets of Melbourne and were met with a heavy police presence.
Officers were seen tackling at least one protester to the ground, before a group dispersed.
The state's police force has confirmed 109 people were arrested for various offences and 108 penalty notices for breach of the Chief Health Officer's directions were issued.
"Victoria Police will continue to have a highly visible presence to maintain public safety, and to ensure any protest activity that breaches the CHO directions does not impact on the broader community's right to go about their daily lives," the force said in a statement.
The state government also announced it will spend $196.6 million in grants on construction payments including in regional areas like Geelong, the Surf Coast Shire and the Mitchell Shire.
But treasurer Tim Pallas says his government is "very, very unhappy" with his federal counterparts for breaking with their practice of co-funding the business support package.
"After all, these are in large measure small business operators who have been impacted because of lockdown orders," he said.
"And I do make the point that this is despite the fact that the Commonwealth funded a similar program to support construction businesses in New South Wales."
- With AAP
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