A Victorian Government Minister says reports that nurses have been working across multiple COVID-19 quarantine hotels in Melbourne are “concerning”.
- The Victorian Transport Minister said the whistleblower had also taken the matter up through “appropriate channels”
- He said working across quarantine hotels was “prohibited”
- An airline crew member has tested positive in Melbourne hotel quarantine
The Age has reported a whistleblower’s claims that private contractor HealthCare Australia asked nurses to do shifts across nine of the hotels last month amid staff shortages, potentially in breach of State Government rules.
The newspaper said the claims from the registered nurse were backed up by leaked paperwork including rosters and emails.
At a press conference, Victorian Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said the individual had also “taken the matter up through appropriate channels”.
Mr Carroll said nurses working across quarantine hotels was “prohibited” and the whistleblower had taken the right course of action, “but this is a matter for CQV [COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria]”.
“So I’m sure this won’t be the end of it,” he said.
“It is concerning. We know first-hand that one of the primary reasons we have hotel quarantine and the strictest guidelines in place is that people work at the one facility and not across.
Mr Carroll said he was not aware of the claims before the media reports emerged on Saturday.
In a statement, Healthcare Australia said it followed the rules laid out by the CQV and nursing staff only worked at their allocated hotels.
It said any requests for extra shifts were for existing staff at that particular hotel.
“We maintain the highest standards of training and all our staff must complete on-site, face to face, practical competency training before treating residents,” it said.
A Victorian Government spokesperson said CQV had a “clear site exclusivity policy” and staff were not permitted to work across different quarantine sites.
“Their work is mostly done via telehealth, with face to face contact with residents confined to COVID-19 testing and essential physical assessments or treatment (for example in emergency situations).”
The spokesperson said that all on-site staff had to have daily tests and follow strict infection prevention and control measures and staff members were encouraged to report matters.
Meanwhile, Mr Carroll said he could not confirm reports international arrivals to Melbourne would restart in a week’s time and that was a matter for the Premier.
Airline crew member tests positive in hotel quarantine
Earlier, the Department of Health said that no new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus had been detected in Victoria for the eighth day in a row.
However, one person had tested positive in hotel quarantine.
“The one positive case is an airline crew member, who will quarantine for 14 days at the health hotel,” a state government spokesperson said.
“We still have airline crew members coming in for outbound flights and freight.”
The department said Victoria had six active cases, made up of five locally acquired cases, and the one new overseas acquired case.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said in a statement 1,920 COVID-19 vaccination doses were administered on Friday across Victoria, bringing the the state’s total since the program started on February 22 to 12,851.
“The first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have started to arrive at Victoria’s hospital vaccination hubs, with 50,800 doses provided by the Commonwealth initially,” the statement said.
“As part of a staged approach, Victorian health services will start administering this safe, effective and free vaccine from early next week.
“More details will be provided shortly as arrangements with the Commonwealth are finalised.”