Staff from multiple hospitals and aged care facilities across Victoria have tested positive to COVID-19, as the number of new coronavirus cases in the state continues to climb.
- The health department says the outbreak squad will visit Brunswick Private Hospital, which has been closed to new admissions
- Hospital patients and aged care residents have also contracted the virus
- The number of coronavirus infections linked to the locked-down public housing towers has risen to 75
Victoria recorded 134 new coronavirus cases overnight, the third day in a row of increases over 100.
Only 11 of the new infections are linked to known outbreaks, while the rest are still under investigation by health officials.
The new infections include four patients and one staff member at the Brunswick Private Hospital in Melbourne’s inner north.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said contact tracing was underway at the hospital.
“The outbreak squad will visit today and the hospital is closed to new admissions,” DHHS said.
A doctor from St Vincent’s Hospital, two staff members from The Alfred Hospital, one from the Royal Melbourne Hospital and one from the Royal Women’s have also all tested positive to coronavirus.
A spokesperson from St Vincent’s said the doctor was in one of the acute medical teams.
“There has been no operational impact on our services,” the spokesperson said.
Fifteen employees from St Vincent’s are in self-quarantine.
Internal emails from the chief executive of the Royal Melbourne Hospital seen by the ABC said a staff member from the Royal Melbourne and one from the Royal Women’s Hospital both tested positive for coronavirus last weekend.
Both staff members had attended face-to-face training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital prior to being diagnosed.
A spokesperson from The Alfred said contract tracing was underway but at this stage, it was unclear if the staff members contracted the virus while working at the hospital.
A number of other workers have been sent home to self-isolate.
“Staff in all clinical areas at Alfred Health are now required to wear a surgical mask to increase their protection against COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.
It follows the ABC being told only ambulances with code-one emergencies were being taken to the Northern Hospital’s emergency room, after eight staff and one of their household contacts tested positive to COVID-19 earlier this week.
All staff were being tested and contact tracing was underway at what was usually Victoria’s busiest emergency department, a spokesperson said on Monday night.
Aged care facilities across Victoria linked to cases
A number of aged care facilities are being cleaned and their residents tested in the wake of workers and residents testing positive.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said the infections were:
- A staff member who was infectious while at the Doutta Galla, Lynch’s Bridge site in Kensington, on July 2 and 3
- A resident who tested positive at the Glendale Aged Care facility in Werribee
- A staff member who worked at the Uniting AgeWell facility in Preston
- A staff member at BaptCare Karana in Kew who tested positive but did not work while infectious
The department said another person who tested positive to coronavirus provided aged care services to clients in their homes through Mercy Health.
“Cleaning, contact tracing and appropriate testing is underway” at the facilities, the department said.
The ABC has confirmed another infection in a staff member who worked at the Aurrum aged care facility in Healesville, north-east of Melbourne.
An email from the facility said the staff member was not believed to have been showing symptoms when they were last in contact with any other team members or residents.
“As a precaution, we are today undertaking a routine baseline set of observations for all residents, which includes blood pressure, temperature, and pulse,” chief executive Craig Rutherford said.
“We ask that everyone continue to follow the COVID-safe infection control practices, including social distancing, visiting only in designated outdoor areas or residents’ rooms, hand washing and the use of hand gel sanitiser.”
Fifth paramedic tests positive
Another paramedic also tested positive on Wednesday, the fifth to contract the virus since the pandemic began.
The paramedic is a close contact of one of the paramedics who tested positive to the virus on Tuesday.
Ambulance Victoria’s chief executive Tony Walker said the person was doing well and was self-isolating.
School cluster reaches more than 100 cases
The outbreaks at nine public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne are now linked to 75 infections.
The towers have been under a “hard lockdown” since Saturday afternoon, with some 3,000 residents forbidden from going in and out of the buildings.
Three new cases have been linked to a Woolworths customer fulfilment facility in Footscray, taking the total there to four.
There have also been seven new cases linked to an outbreak at the Al-Taqwa College in Truganina, taking the total to 102, and one new infection linked to the Stamford Plaza outbreak, taking the total to 43.
There is a second case linked to the PM Fresh food processing facility in Broadmeadows.
One case was identified in a Rip Curl staff member who had been working from home, but visited the Torquay head office for meetings 48 hours before developing symptoms.
Six staff members are now in self-isolation and the office remains closed for deep cleaning.
The Torquay retail store and warehouse were not impacted.