Victoria records its most Covid-19 cases in almost a year with 71 infections and double the number of mystery transmissions – as HUNDREDS of doctors, nurses and hospital staff are forced to isolate
- Hundreds of health workers from Royal Melbourne Hospital are in self isolation
- A Covid outbreak has emerged at the facility – with seven people infected so far
- Authorities believe cluster is linked to the Shepparton outbreak in regional VIC
Victoria has recorded 71 new cases of coronavirus, its most in a single day since the tail end of its second wave last September.
Mystery cases have also blown out to double Sunday’s numbers with 22 not yet linked to the outbreak and an unknown number were infectious in the community.
They were diagnosed from 46,446 test results and 22,191 vaccine doses were administered on Sunday.
But it’s an outbreak at Royal Melbourne Hospital that’s so far infected at least seven people – a mix of patients, staff and one visitor – that’s worrying health authorities.
Hundreds of staff from Royal Melbourne Hospital (pictured) have been plunged into isolation
A Covid-positive patient from Shepparton was transferred to the hospital on August 12 and gave it to a cardiac patient in a bed next to him.
He was not tested for Covid-19 prior to his operation which happened before the Shepparton cluster surfaced.
The patient was in various parts of the hospital including ICU and a cardiac ward before he tested positive. He remains there.
Health Minister Martin Foley denies authorities have lost control of the latest wave of infections but has expressed ‘great concern’ about the scale of community transmission despite a statewide lockdown.
Mr Foley has warned an outbreak in the regional city of Shepparton will almost certainly grow beyond the 21 cases included in Sunday’s figures.
That cluster has been linked to a new case detected 125k away, in the town of Mansfield at the foot of the Victorian Alps.
Health department deputy secretary Kate Matson said ‘hundreds’ of health workers have been temporarily stood down due to the risk of exposure. Another 50 are isolating after a positive case went to the Werribee Mercy Hospital on August 19.
‘We’re looking at emergency staffing as well to maintain the health system,’ she said on Sunday, but did not detail what that involved.
‘I’m confident we’ve got the contingency plans in place to keep that going.’
Victoria officially recorded 65 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 55 linked to current outbreaks and 10 mystery cases. Pictured: A nurse takes a man’s information at a Pfizer clinic
Authorities listed more than 100 new exposure sites across Victoria on Saturday and more than 11,000 close contacts are in quarantine.
Mr Foley told reporters it was still possible to get on top of the spread despite unexplained wastewater detections in areas where there’d been no confirmed cases.
They include positive results from the Sunshine West industrial area west of Melbourne.
‘What this shows is that we’ve got community transmission,’ he said, but added: ‘We’re still in the realm of holding this back.’
Authorities will reintroduce pre-surgery Covid tests as a result of the hospital outbreak.
The cluster wasn’t picked up until a woman who visited the surgical patient’s roommate fell ill and got tested.
Authorities worked backwards from there. They are waiting on further tests that will show if the man has the same variant circulating in Shepparton.
The source of the Shepparton cluster remains under investigation.
There are currently 440 active Covid cases in Victoria, with authorities bracing for numbers to surge. Pictured: People queue up at a vaccination clinic
All public sector staff will get up to half a day of paid time to keep appointments for the two jabs they need for full protection, Mr Foley announced on Sunday.
He also promised an new vaccination blitz for residential aged care and disability workers at state run facilities, including walk-up jabs at more than 50 state-run centres.
Jobs Minister Martin Pakula also announced more help for 20,000 regional businesses affected by the lockdown.
Victoria currently has 440 active cases. There are 27 people in hospital,12 in intensive care.
Daily tests numbered 44,147 and 26,149 vaccinations were administered in state run vaccination centres.