More than 100 people, including dozens of police and defense forces, are in isolation after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for coronavirus Sunday

Victorian health authorities have stepped up testing in northwest Melbourne to identify all primary and secondary contacts from the woman in her early 50s who worked as an authorized employee at the Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport

The woman was born at the end of her shift on April 4 Tested on February 7th and gave a negative result She went back to work in February, where she developed symptoms and later tested positive

Genomic testing is underway to determine which strain of virus the worker has contracted and authorities expect results by late Tuesday, COVID-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar said

“We are always very careful with our approach, so we are working on a worst-case scenario that says that we are dealing with a complex load – we don’t know that yet,” said Weimar

About 80 hotel quarantine employees work at the Holiday Inn, including nine Victoria Police officers and 12 Australian Armed Forces employees who are considered close contacts with infected workers and have been in quarantine for 14 days

The Victorian opposition criticized a state government plan to compensate hotel quarantine workers who have to be tested every day, describing it as a double standard

The Andrews administration announced tightening hotel quarantine rules last week after guests in rooms across the corridor at the Park Royal Hotel contracted the virus and a 26-year-old support agent at the Grand Hyatt Hotel tested positive became COVID-19

The meal times have been staggered to prevent guests from opening the door at the same time Starting Monday, all hotel quarantine employees will be asked to have themselves tested daily, including those days when they are not working.The government will make this mandatory once authorities have worked through the implications of contractual and labor relations and indicated that workers may be must be compensated for the exam on their days off

Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier only raised concerns this week about the government, which is doing daily tests on staff, but added that they shouldn’t be paid to wipe down on days when they don’t work will be

“These hotel quarantine workers do a job like any Victorian, and when in doubt they should step up and get tested like the thousands of Victorians who come forward every day who lost their jobs lost their companies, who do the right thing – they don’t get any compensation or payment from the government, ”said Ms. Crozier

The health authorities have so far identified 15 household and social contacts of the quarantine worker and have begun tracking down the woman’s secondary contacts

Public health teams identify exposure sites and have already listed several locations in the northwest of the city, including retail stores in Maidstone, Sunshine, and Taylors Lakes

The Minister of Emergency Services in charge of the hotel quarantine program, Lisa Neville, said authorities are confident the woman has not violated any protocols and are investigating the possible air and surface spread of the virus

Ms. Neville said three positive people – all from the same family – recently stayed at the Holiday Inn. They have since been moved to a health hotel

The COVID-positive hotel quarantine agent was responsible for sending sticky notes to people who had traveled from overseas and making changes to arrest warrants and the exit from the program

She wore full personal protective equipment, including a surgical mask and face shield, and spoke to hotel residents through a plexiglass screen, Ms. Neville said

“At this point, when we’ve looked at this person’s engagement to people entering, exiting, and moving to health hotels, there doesn’t seem to be any breach of that obligation in terms of how close they are So in terms of touching things, in terms of not using infection prevention and control, we have to wait for genomics, ”said Ms. Neville

“We’re still pretty confident about the technical reports showing there is no air distribution between rooms or in public areas, but we have another occupational doctor to meet the technical team to check whether there is anything else with air conditioning or a risk, ”she said

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said there were “systemic” problems with Victoria’s hotel quarantine system and urged the Prime Minister to isolate returning travelers from the CBD

“One time it looks like an accident, but two breakouts in two separate hotels look like negligence and we need to find out what happened,” said O’Brien

“It is time for the Prime Minister to give serious thought to removing hotel quarantine from our capitals and placing it in areas that are far less likely to spread, even if it does leak”They would look at areas that are less populated but still have the necessary access to ancillary services”

“I’m not entirely sure why the opposition leader needs to bring good ideas to the table,” he said

The hotel employee was the only positive case, on Monday of almost 12000 tests processed on Sunday were reported

Melbourne University epidemiologist Tony Blakely said aerosol transmission was “almost certainly” a factor in the most recent positive case

“This [aerosol spread] is something of concern,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Monday morning

He added that there were basic measures that could improve ventilation in common corridors and dead spaces in quarantine hotels in urban locations, such as opening staircase doors for emergency exits at both ends of the corridors on each floor

There are already 1200 people who have isolated themselves due to a 26-year-old hotel quarantine worker contracting the virus, most likely while working at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne

More than 70 percent of the Grand Hyatt employee’s close contacts have tested negative for the virus, but authorities said Sunday it would be at least a week before they could be certain that the state could have another major outbreak Coronavirus has dodged

The Holiday Inn case was uncovered just hours after a health alert was issued in NSW following a positive diagnosis by a returning overseas traveler in Wollongong

Federal Health Secretary Greg Hunt said the two cases of local transmission recorded across the country in the past 24 hours are being effectively managed

“[Victoria’s] tests have shown that this employee found this employee early on and enabled the immediate contact tracing process,” he said

“So both systems worked on detection and both worked on tracking, identifying contacts and isolating”

Mr Hunt turned down proposals that the current quarantine hotel model needed a major overhaul, saying that some case leaks were inevitable and resulted from other measures

“We have been saying since the earliest days a year ago that there would be cases,” he said

“We have always said that hotel quarantine is going into security containers, followed by testing, tracking, and distancing. If someone states that there is only one line of defense, that would be inaccurate

“So that people can only rely on it, it is not about adequate protection for Australians. We have several layers of protection and security rings”


In response to the recent Melbourne outbreak, health officials announced that testing capacity near exposure sites would be increased starting Monday, with increased opening hours, additional staff and pop-up locations to be confirmed

Fifty Australian forces personnel were quarantined overnight on Sunday after a technical problem with an RAAF aircraft delayed an earlier arrival of troops on Sunday evening

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World news – AU – Second quarantine employee of the hotel in Melbourne tests positive

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/another-melbourne-hotel-quarantine-worker-tests-positive-to-covd-19-20210208-p570do.html