Victoria COVID LIVE updates: Coronavirus cases spread to aged care, exposure site list grows

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ACTU estimates 15% of aged care staff fully vaccinated

A slow rollout that has vaccinated an estimated 15 per cent of aged care staff has left residents and workers vulnerable, says ACTU secretary Sally McManus.

Ms McManus said the unions have been in consultation with the federal government throughout the planning phase of the vaccine rollout but the implementation of the plans has been ineffective. “There’s no urgency, there’s no goal, there’s no transparency, no communication plan and no understanding of the problems of the workforce,” she told Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

“People were traumatised last year, the workers that had to go into some of those aged care facilities and see things that no one should see. We never, ever want that to happen again.

“This was foreseeable and it’s absolutely unacceptable we’re in this situation.”

Ms McManus said the ACTU estimates just 15 per cent of front line aged care workers are fully vaccinated.

“We estimate about 15 per cent of staff in aged care have been fully vaccinated, probably a bit less than that in disability services which are also a very similar cohort of workers and it’s high-risk people they’re working with to it’s probably around one or two per cent, which is just unacceptable.”

She also said employers urged workers to organise their own vaccination – in their own time – in order to protect themselves. “Go fend for yourself in your own time, at your own expense, go organise your own vaccine and so that’s what workers have been told … more than half are in insecure work taking time off to go and get vaccinated,” she said.

“We’ve got no transparency – like even the employers don’t know how many people have been vaccinated.”

Exposure site list grows to 320 sites

Health authorities have uncovered dozens of new exposure sites overnight, including several sites at a shopping centre in Melbourne’s west, the South Melbourne Market, several supermarkets and a sandwich shop in Rye.

The list, now more than 320, is increasingly a list of places people are allowed to go: fruit shops and supermarkets.

A CHO statement, released on Monday evening, said there is a continued focus on small community grocery stores across Melbourne’s suburbs.

Late on Monday authorities added Simply Spanish restaurant as a tier 2 site at the South Melbourne Market, with the case visiting the eatery on May 27 between 2:00pm to 3:30pm.

Aldi South Melbourne was also listed, as a tier 1, on May 28 between 2:00pm to 3:30pm.

Authorities also added several locations at the Brimbank Shopping Centre in Deer Park as a tier 1, and the entire site as a tier 2. A positive case visited the men’s bathrooms. The dates are May 26, 27 and 28.

Cafe Muffin Break was also listed as a tier 1, on May 26, 27 and 28. The food court was mentioned for May 26, and Nando’s listed on May 26 also.

Marketplace Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Market and Point Cook Quality Meats & Grocery Supermarket at the Stockland Shopping Centre were listed May 26, alongside Footscray Market on May 26.

Woolworths Heidelberg was listed for May 25 as was a Subway sandwich outlet in Rye on May 21 between 2:00pm and 4:00pm.

Public health advice dictates that anyone who has visited a tier 1 exposure site during the times listed must immediately isolate, get a COVID-19 test, and quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure.

You should also contact the Department of Health on 1300 651 160.

Similarly, anyone who has visited a tier 2 exposure site during times listed should urgently get a COVID-19 test and isolate until they receive a negative result.

You should also contact the Department of Health on 1300 651 160.

People are also instructed to continue to monitor for symptoms, get tested again if symptoms appear.

View a full list of the exposure sites here.

No jab, no work for aged care staff on COVID front line

Public sector aged care workers in Victoria who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be stood down from front-line duties to prevent the latest outbreak from reaching the state’s most vulnerable people.

Department of Health secretary Euan Wallace said all health and aged care staff working directly with patients or nursing home residents in the public system should be inoculated against the flu and COVID-19.

Waste water testing at the COVID-hit Arcare aged care home in Maidstone.Credit:Eddie Jim

“You don’t work in [intensive care] unless you get vaccinated for flu and COVID, you don’t work in [emergency departments] unless you get vaccinated for flu and COVID,” Professor Wallace said. “The expectation is that all high-risk-facing healthcare workers are vaccinated for both flu and COVID.”

Read the full story here.

Good morning

Good morning, and welcome to our free live coverage of the latest COVID-19 crisis in Victoria.

Just catching up on the latest headlines, it’s been a fiercely busy 24 hours.

First up, public sector aged care workers in Victoria who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be stood down from front-line duties.

Victoria recorded 11 new local cases of coronavirus on Monday – five detected overnight and revealed in the morning DHHS tweet and then a further six local cases of COVID-19 were announced during yesterday’s daily press conference.

Confirmation that the outbreak had infected aged care staff at two centres and a resident at one of the homes has raised the spectre of last winter’s deadly second wave in Victoria.

The Melbourne outbreak prompted the Morrison government to reinstate rules designed to prevent aged care staff from working across multiple homes in Melbourne after it allowed the practice again late last year.

During Monday’s COVID-19 update, Acting Premier James Merlino said the current outbreak may get worse before it gets better. He said the next few days were critical for Victorians.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the numbers confronting health authorities and contract tracers was “huge,” and that authorities are neck and neck with the virus as it continues to spread throughout the city.

Meanwhile, the list of exposure sites just keeps growing.

I’m Daniella Miletic, deputy digital editor at The Age, and I’ll be with you throughout the morning. Get in touch with a tip via email at [email protected] or leave a comment right here.

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