Victoria has posted 26 new local cases of coronavirus a week into its statewide lockdown.
The health department has confirmed Thursday’s infections are all linked to the current outbreak, which originated in NSW and now totals 133 cases.
Twenty-four of the 26 cases were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.
It is the state’s highest daily total of the current outbreak and follows 22 infections on Wednesday.
But Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has said he thought the state would already be dealing with 200 to 300 cases if it had not entered lockdown last Thursday night, citing the highly infectious nature of the Delta variant.
“It is a variant that takes off from dozens to thousands of cases within just a matter of weeks,” he said on Wednesday.
“If we’d locked down today, instead of when we did, we would get thousands of cases in the next couple of weeks. We’d be in a world of hurt.”
Professor Sutton said he believed community transmission 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.
As of Wednesday, there are five people in hospital with COVID-19, including a man from Barwon Heads in intensive care.
More than 18,000 primary close contacts are self-isolating across the state, while the number of exposure sites has grown to more than 380.
Prahran Market in Melbourne’s inner south-east 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 state health authorities had 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.
Market management said they had been told a case shopped at Pete n Rosie’s Deli, Q le Baker, Prahran Seafoods, John Cester’s Poultry and Game, Gary’s Quality Meats, Reliable Fruit and Veg and Market Lane Coffee.
“Due to the broad geographic spread of the traders, DHHS has taken the step of classifying the whole of Prahran Market as a tier one exposure site,” they wrote on Facebook.
“All staff working within the market during the exposure period will be immediately tested and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure date.
“We will also work closely with them to conduct a deep clean of both their stalls and the market as a whole.”
Some 43,674 tests were processed in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, while 14,230 Victorians received a vaccine dose at a state-run hub.