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Cancer patient becomes sixth Victorian to die of coronavirus

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A cancer patient linked to a coronavirus outbreak at a Melbourne hospital has died of the deadly disease, marking Victoria’s sixth death from COVID-19.

A cancer patient linked to a coronavirus outbreak at a Melbourne hospital has died of the deadly disease, marking Victoria's sixth death from COVID-19.

The woman in her 60s died last night at The Alfred Hospital, less than a week after two other patients at the hospital's haematology and oncology ward died from the virus.

It comes after a woman in her 70s became the fifth Victorian to die from COVID-19 in a Melbourne hospital overnight, as well as an 85-year-old man in Queensland.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton announced the sixth death on Twitter today, which brings the national toll to 24.

"We have been advised of a sixth COVID-19 death - a woman in her 60s who died in a Melbourne hospital last night," he said on Twitter.

"Our thoughts are with their families."


Alfred Health chief executive Prof Andrew Way said stringent infection control measures remain in place on the ward, which has been closed to new admissions since last week.

Two COVID-19 positive patients from the cancer ward remain in a stable condition.

10 staff who have the virus remain in self-isolation at home.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of our patient, who passed away yesterday," Prof Way said.

"Our Infectious Diseases and Infection Prevention teams have supported us to put the most stringent plan into place, and we remain completely focused on the wellbeing of our patients and staff as this pandemic unfolds."

The hospital this week introduced further restrictions on visitors.

Temperature screening of all visitors is now in place and visiting hours have been reduced to a four-hour window each day – one visitor per patient for a maximum of one hour.

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Health Minister Jenny Mikakos earlier said she did not believe the fifth death was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at The Alfred Hospital.

"My understanding was she was in hospital for a number of days," she said.

"My thoughts are with the elderly woman's family.

"It is a very stressful time for family members who have an unwell family member in a hospital and then to be worried about COVID-19 as well. This is a very serious situation."

The state's coronavirus tally surged to 1036 infections today  – an increase of 68 new cases from yesterday.

Cases of community transmission have also climbed to 57 from 39 yesterday.

The state's total number of cases includes 551 men and 480 women. Cases range in age from babies to their early 90s.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned people should particularly steer clear of visiting elderly loved ones.

"What we don't want is for those elderly individuals, who are very susceptible and vulnerable to very severe disease, to have visits that are not necessary," Mr Sutton said.

"If it's a care arrangement, where someone needs to provide care for someone who's elderly, then that's OK. Other than that, we are genuinely encouraging and directing people to stay away."

Public and private hospital merger

The Victorian government has struck a deal with the state's major private hospitals, which would see both public and private systems join forces in a bid to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Mikakos said 9000 beds from the private hospital system, including 170 intensive care unit beds, 200 emergency medicine beds and staff, would be added to public hospitals.

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"It will ensure that we will be able to utilise our private hospitals in the peak of the pandemic, relieving pressure off our busy hospital system," she said.

"So I want to thank our private hospital operators for the very constructive way in which they have engaged with the Victorian Government around these issues."

Frankston clinic closes after staff test positive

A radiology clinic in Melbourne's south-east has shut down after six staff members tested positive to coronavirus.

Frankston Radiology temporarily closed its doors late last week, while it underwent cleaning and disinfection.

No patients were believed to have contracted the virus.

CEO Dr Shrey Viranna and Chief Medical Officer Dr Ron Shnier in a joint statement said all patients who came into close contact with staff had been notified.

"A number of our employees at Frankston Radiology have tested positive for COVID-19," they said.

"We have worked with the Department of Health & Human Services to ensure any patients who had experienced close contact with the employees were notified. 

"In addition all employees who had experienced close contact have self-isolated for 14 days and have been tested before recommencing work.

"Our procedure is to close the clinic while we conduct a full sanitisation and disinfection of the facility, at which point it will reopen and resume providing vital patient services."

Prof Sutton confirmed there were more than 100 healthcare workers who have been infected with COVID-19.

9News earlier revealed a worker at a leading cancer centre in Melbourne also tested positive for coronavirus.

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said the staff member tested positive on Wednesday and was now recovering at home.

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Melbourne market positive COVID-19 diagnosis

A Melbourne market in the city's north has revealed a fruit and vegetable buyer has tested positive to coronavirus.

The infected individual attended the Melbourne Market in Epping on Monday and Tuesday last week for an hour about 5.30am.

The Melbourne Market Authority in a statement confirmed the market remained open despite the positive diagnosis.

"What we can tell you is that the infected individual is a fruit and vegetable buyer who spent very little time at the Melbourne Market last week," the statement read.

"The individual who tested positive is currently being treated in hospital, and we wish them a speedy recovery.

"For privacy reasons, we are restricted from disclosing the name of the individual who has tested positive to COVID-19 or provide details of the business they work for."

"The Melbourne Market Authority is assisting the COVID-19 Public Health Commander (DHHS) in their contact tracing to ensure all close contacts with the individual who tested positive yesterday are notified and advised to self-isolate where applicable."

The premises is being cleaned and sanitised regularly.

Temperature testing will begin tomorrow afternoon upon entry for all market users.

Source: 9News

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