Fears PPE not always effective on healthcare workers

Victoria’s chief health officer says personal protective equipment is not always a guarantee when keeping frontline healthcare workers free of the deadly coronavirus.

It comes after Victoria recorded 627 new infections on Friday – the state’s second highest daily surge.

At least 1030 healthcare workers are infected.

Professor Brett Sutton said health authorities needed to be open to the harsh reality that personal protective equipment (PPE) “may not always work in some circumstances”.

“There is always a review to understand what works and what doesn’t,” he said.

“But to say these healthcare workers are contracting the virus outside the workplace is definitely not the case.”

POSITIVE CASES NOT AT HOME

One in four people who had tested positive for coronavirus were not at home on Thursday, when the state recorded it’s deadliest daily surge with 723 infections.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters 130 confirmed COVID-19 cases did not answer their door upon home checks from ADF personnel and Health Department officers.

Mr Andrews said the alarming development was “unacceptable”.

“It’s simply unacceptable to have this virus and not be at home,” he said.

“Some may be out getting some fresh air but this number goes well and truly beyond anything like that. If you are positive the only place you should be is at home.”

INFECTIONS AT MELBOURNE TOWER

A dozen COVID-19 infections have emerged at a Melbourne high-rise tower, with close to 20 casual construction workers identified as close contacts.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) notified construction company Multiplex of 12 COVID-19 cases at the Multiplex Premier Apartments site at 134-160 Spencer St, Melbourne.

The site has been immediately shut down for a full, hospital-grade clean.

The $315 million apartment and hotel project, dubbed by some as the Beyonce tower, is a 79-storey mix-use skyscraper under construction.

Works at the high-rise are set to be completed this year.

All workers identified as being in close and casual contact with the confirmed cases were immediately sent home and ordered to get tested and to self-isolate until they received test results.

In a statement, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union said it prioritised the health of its workers.

“The health and safety of our members is of the utmost priority and we strongly condemn any behaviour that does not follow the appropriate measures put in place to protect our workers and the wider community,” the union said.

“We implore all members and construction workers to continue following all measures and guidelines put in place for their safety, including strict hygiene practices, social distancing, wearing of masks and separation of workers on meal breaks as outlined by the Premier’s office and the DHHS.”

anthony.piovesan@news.com.au



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