More than 450 aged care residents in Victoria are infected with coronavirus, and the head of the aged care royal commission says the issues associated with the pandemic and aged care warrant an inquiry of their own.
Of the 13 deaths reported in the state on Thursday, 10 of those were aged care residents, as both the state and federal governments continued efforts to ensure facilities were staffed, residents were protected and protective equipment was being used properly.
Victoria reported 16 new cases in aged care residents, with a total of 456 current cases.
The aged care royal commission is set to hold three days of hearings into the sector's level of preparedness, and whether its response balanced the needs of those affected with public health concerns. However commissioner Tony Pagone said on Thursday it would not be a full inquiry into the disease's impact on the sector.
"The issues associated with the impacts of COVID-19 in aged care warrant an inquiry of their own," he said.
"We simply do not have the resources or time to conduct an inquiry that would do justice to the issues which have arisen so far and continue to change and develop."
Mr Pagone said just three aged care residents have recovered from the disease since the start of July.
He said it would be for government to determine if more forensic inquiry into aged care and COVID-19 would be undertaken.
Management of some of the worst-affected aged care facilities has been taken over by the federal government or by hospitals, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews saying there was still "significant work" to be done at St Basil's Aged Care in Fawkner and described the Epping Gardens facility as a "challenging environment," from which two residents had emergency transfers to hospital.
Of the dozen centres considered "critical," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said only a small number were at the "acute" stage.
Just under 60 of the new cases reported on Thursday were among the aged care workforce, but acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly said the majority of these cases were linked to community transmission outside the facilities, not internal transmission.
Mr Morrison said the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre was not only distributing personal protective equipment to aged care facilities but training and enforcing the proper use of it.
"There's been far too much anecdotal evidence that we've been receiving of PPE, despite the training, despite the PPE being there, not being used the way it should," Mr Morrison said, threatening centres that breaches in use of the equipment will have consequences.