Victorian Health Workers Seek Better Protection

August 7, 2020 Updated: August 7, 2020

As Victorian healthcare workers continue to be strongly represented in daily COVID-19 case increases, some are calling for greater virus protection.

The state reported 450 new infections of which 139 were healthcare workers on Aug 7.

The total active cases among healthcare workers is 911.

There were 11 deaths, taking the state toll to 181 and the national toll to 266.

The Australian Medical Association criticised the Infection Control Expert Group for not advising P2 or N95 respirator masks be used in all COVID-19 care settings.

And the Australian Society of Anaesthetists questioned whether Melbourne hospitals had adequate control guidelines.

Melbourne anaesthetist Dr David Story told AAP that major hospitals with COVID-19 wards were all using P2 and N95 masks.

He said many clinicians felt “fear and uncertainty” but that the ICEG was a respected body to be trusted.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation aimed its strongest critique at private aged care providers – to which a large portion of health worker infections are linked.

“Get your infection control practices and training in order and roster more registered and enrolled nurses,” a spokeswoman said.

“All providers should be ensuring all their clinical and non-clinical staff have access to the Victorian Government’s free face-to-face infection control training delivered by Monash University.”

Questions over Victoria’s failed hotel quarantine program continue with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton declaring it impossible to tell if the state had completely eliminated community transmission before the problems were discovered.

A $3 million hotel quarantine inquiry, led by former Family Court judge Jennifer Coate, is now due to begin on August 17.

Premier Daniel Andrews is not answering questions about the inquiry, saying he wants the government to be at arm’s length to avoid “self-assessment”.

Andi Yu in Melbourne