• Staff Writers

Victoria links COVID-19 clusters to medi-hotel transmission in Adelaide

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

Contact tracers have scrambled to uncover how an aged care facility worker in Melbourne caught COVID-19, with the Victorian government indicating on Tuesday afternoon it is believed her case traces back to the COVID-19 cases contracted from the Playford Hotel Adelaide quarantine transmission.

The Arcare Maidstone facility was locked down and residents placed into self-isolation on Sunday, after the staff member, a woman in her 50s, tested positive for COVID-19.

The Altona woman had received her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on May 12.

It is possible she was infectious during shifts on Wednesday and Thursday.

Only a third of Arcare Maidstone's 110 staff and 53 of 76 residents had been vaccinated by Monday, with the federal government bringing forward scheduled vaccinations.

The Victorian government announced on Tuesday afternoon that from Wednesday to Sunday, workers in private aged care facilities and the residential disability sector, which are managed by the Commonwealth, will be given priority access at walk-in vaccination hubs around Victoria between 9am and 4pm when they present evidence of their employment.

Former federal opposition leader and Maribyrnong MP, Bill Shorten, whose electorate takes in the facility, said on Monday that most residents and staff were yet to receive their second dose of the vaccine:

"Worryingly both the staff member who recorded positive but one resident, possibly two ... (who) appear to have contracted COVID, were both vaccinated in the first round.
"It just emphasises ... that two vaccinations is what we need.
"The people who are sick had actually had a vaccination. You need two. One is not enough."

Health Minister Greg Hunt said 85 per cent of residents in private aged care facilities and 100 per cent in Victorian residential facilities have been vaccinated.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said:

"The hindsight of almost 2000 Victorian aged care residents contracting COVID-19, 655 resident deaths and more than 1600 aged care workers infected was not enough to motivate the Morrison government into urgent action.

Ms Fitzpatrick also said the Royal Freemasons' Footscray and Coppin Centre aged care homes are also going into lockdown because of contact tracing.

The Royal Freemasons facilities were not among the 40 locations added to the state's list of exposure sites on Sunday.

Acting Premier James Merlino said no decision has been made on whether the state's seven-day lockdown will end on Thursday evening as planned.

Meanwhile, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas accused the federal government of failing to help stood-down Victorian workers, as he announced a $250 million business support package.

State opposition leader, the Liberals' Michael O'Brien, was scathing in his criticism of the Labor government's handling of the pandemic:

“This is a government that has caused the fourth lockdown through poor QR codes and contact tracing that had holes in it.
“Eight months the government sat on its hands and refused to implement uniform QR check in codes.
“For them to try and put the blame on everyone else but themselves, just shows that this is all about politics for Labor, it’s not about getting Victoria back open and back to work.
“There is a reason why we’re the only state in the country to have had 160 days of hard lockdown.
“It’s not Canberra’s fault, the fault lies in Spring Street.
“This is really disappointing (the $250 million package for small business).
“This government is saying bad luck, you get nothing, to about 85 percent of Victorian businesses, it’s not enough.
“Some small businesses will close their doors permanently, and that will put people out of work.
“Job Keeper was a national program, and that national program ended.
“For the state government to turn around and point fingers at the federal government is a bit rich.
“If you were interested in working with the federal government, you don’t do that by attacking them at a press conference.