Kids 'spread human waste' in COVID hotel

 

Disturbing details have emerged in the case of a COVID-infected family in hotel quarantine who may have inadvertently triggered Victoria's deadly second outbreak.

An inquiry into Victoria's bungled hotel quarantine program has heard he family stayed at the Rydges hotel in Swanston St, where an "episode of environmental contamination" took place in their room on May 18, after they showed symptoms of COVID-19.

It is thought the family's distressed children spread human waste in the room.

"Subsequently there is a suggestion that the family were approved to walk outside their room, during which they were accompanied by security guards," epidemiologist Dr Charles Alpren told the inquiry

"It is possible a transmission event or events happened at this point."

Victoria recorded 222 new coronavirus cases and 17 deaths in the past 24 hours to Tuesday.

While the number of daily new infections is dropping, some areas of Melbourne are seeing a surge in cases despite stage four lockdowns.

Casey in Melbourne's outer southeast has recorded the largest net increase of virus cases, clocking nine more cases than it saw on Monday.

Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula have also seen net increases in active cases. But Melbourne's north and west are seeing falling numbers as people recover from the virus and stage four lockdowns limit community transmission.

Kids 'spread human waste' in COVID hotel

Disturbing details have emerged in the case of a COVID-infected family in hotel quarantine who may have inadvertently triggered Victoria's deadly second outbreak.

An inquiry into Victoria's bungled hotel quarantine program heard on Tuesday about 90 per cent of the state's COVID-19 cases are likely traceable back to one family who stayed at Melbourne's Rydges Hotel in Swanston St, however how exactly the virus escaped the hotel has not been determined.

The family of four went to the Rydges hotel on May 15, days after they returned to Australia from overseas, and after they developed symptoms.

The inquiry heard they did not leave the hotel and were supervised outside their rooms during their stay.

On May 25, three staff members at Rydges were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Epidemiologist Dr Charles Alpren told the inquiry an "episode of environmental contamination" took place in the family's room on May 18, which nursing staff needed to address.

It is thought the family's distressed children spread human waste in the room.

"Subsequently there is a suggestion that the family were approved to walk outside their room, during which they were accompanied by security guards," Dr Alpren said.

"It is possible a transmission event or events happened at this point."

More details about the conditions inside Melbourne's quarantine hotels will be revealed when security guards, returned travellers and officials give evidence at the inquiry chaired by retired judge Jennifer Coate.

Two nurses and four returned travellers will give evidence on Thursday, and another two travellers and a security guard will front the inquiry on Friday.

'We've entered a new phase of pandemic'

Heading overseas for a moment, where the World Health Organisation has warned young people were driving COVID-19's deadly march around the world.

The WHO said the virus was now mainly being spread by people aged in their 20s, 30s and 40s who may not realise they were infected but were putting vulnerable groups at risk.

"The epidemic is changing … People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread. Many are unaware they are infected. This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable," the WHO's western Pacific regional director, Dr Takeshi Kasai, said in a virtual briefing.

Dr Kasai also addressed surges in countries that appeared to have the virus under control, such as Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and South Korea.

"What we are observing is not simply a resurgence. We believe it's a signal that we have entered a new phase of pandemic in the Asia-Pacific," Dr Kasai said.

Aussie dies from virus in Bali

An Australian man had died in Bali, three weeks after contracting COVID-19.

Paul Koodravsev, 62, who was originally from Perth and lived in the Bali beach side town of Sanur, first tested positive for the virus on July 25 and was admitted to the COVID ward at Udayana University Hospital.

He died on Sunday from multiple organ failure caused by the virus, the West Australian reported.

"The cause of death was due to multi-organ failure. He was hospitalised with a positive confirmation of COVID, but also had many comorbidities," Ketut Suarjaya, the head of Bali Health Services, said.

"Before he died, he had recovered from COVID. A third swab at the Udayana University hospital on August 10, was negative. He was hospitalised for 18 days and died on August 16."

Mr Koodravsev is the second Australian to die in Bali from coronavirus.

The first was David Sparenburg, 53, who died in a guesthouse near the tourist hotspot of Canggu.

Aussies must ditch 'She'll be right' attitude

In his national update earlier today, Prof Michael Kidd urged Australians to not neglect any other health issues for fear of being exposed to COVID-19.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer said he was "very concerned" to hear some people were delaying treatments and appointments because they didn't want to come in contact with the virus in healthcare settings.

"While much of our focus remains on COVID-19, it is absolutely essential that we continue to focus on all our healthcare issues that affect the people of Australia," he said.

"Our Australian attitude of 'she'll be right' doesn't apply to your health or the health of your loved ones."

Virus hits four Woolies stores

Coronavirus has hit four major Melbourne supermarkets in the past 24 hours.

Four Woolworths staff members returned positive tests for COVID-19 on Tuesday, with the employees working shifts at Mornington East, The Glen in Glen Waverley, Dan Murphy's Collingwood and Plenty Valley

At the Mornington East store, the worker was last in the supermarket on August 5, with Woolworths confirming the store had been deep cleaned.

The infected Glen Waverley employee last worked on August 13, while Dan Murphy's Collingwood and Plenty Valley staff members who tested positive last worked on August 12 and August 9 respectively.

In a statement, Woolworths confirmed the risk of transmission to customers and other team members was "low".

"As a food retailer, we already have very high standards of cleaning and hygiene in place," it said.

"We're making contact with our team members and providing our full support to those required to self-isolate in line with advice from the health authorities."

All four stores have returned to normal trading.

COVID positive nurse to return to work

An intensive care nurse says he's due back at work on Friday, just over two weeks after he contracted COVID-19.

Daniel Collins, an intensive care unit nurse from the Royal Melbourne Hospital, tested positive for COVID-19 on August 6.

Mr Collins, who has been staying in hotel isolation since being diagnosed, said just days ago he was struggling to catch his breath and had been feeling "quite unwell".

He told ABC Radio Melbourne he'd been resting but was scheduled to return to work on August 21 - even if he continues to test positive.

Mr Collins, 24, said he initially had mild symptoms, and began to lose his sense of taste and smell. He said around day eight he became "quite unwell".

He said he'd also been measuring his oxygen saturation, which had dropped to "worrying" levels.

The registered nurse said he doesn't need to return to a negative test before returning to work.

"Once it gets to day 10 of having COVID, you need to be symptom-free for three days and then you can get cleared of COVID," he said.

Suburbs where virus is still soaring

While Victoria's new COVID-19 numbers are on the way down, some areas are seeing a surge in cases despite stage four lockdowns.

And it's particularly in Melbourne's southeast.

Casey in the outer southeast has recorded the largest net increase of virus cases, clocking nine more cases than it saw on Monday. It has a total of 355 active cases.

Frankston has seen a net increase of six cases to a total of 95, while in the Mornington Peninsula, they've risen by three cases, to 67.

Outside Melbourne, Greater Geelong has seen a net increase of four active cases to 159, and Warrnambool had a net increase of two, bringing its total to seven active cases.

But active case numbers are falling in hotspots across Melbourne's north and west as people recover and lockdowns drive down community transmission.

Over the past seven days, the total number of active cases has fallen by 34 in Brimbank, 33 in Wyndham, 25 in Whittlesea, 16 in Maribyrnong, 13 in Hume, 13 in Melton, 10 in Moreland and 10 in Melbourne.

Conspiracy theorists wage COVID anti-vax war

Thousands of anti-vaxxers have launched a campaign against a coronavirus vaccine, bombarding Australia's leaders and politicians with "pseudoscience".

The attack has raised fears a growing number of Australians will refuse to be vaccinated against the deadly virus when a cure is made available, with Science Minister Karen Andrews telling the Herald Sun there's "enormous risk" people will believe the campaign.

"It's just beyond the pale and disinformation or misinformation is dangerous and can lead to loss of life," Ms Andrews told the publication.

"In my role as Science Minister I'm actually just not prepared to sit there and allow these people to promote pseudoscience."

The protest was carried out last night on the Facebook pages of politicians, and arranged by figures in Melbourne's anti-vax community.

"This is about digitally waging war on what we, the people, have deemed harmful misinformation," the event read.

Senator Raff Siccone called on those who intend to refuse the future vaccine to be banned from establishments, telling the Herald Sun conspiracy theorists "ought to bear the consequences of that decision".

Authorities investigate cases linked to hospitals

Health authorities in Victoria are urgently investigating multiple coronavirus infections linked to two Melbourne hospitals.

In today's breakdown of the state's new COVID-19 cases, the DHHS confirmed cases linked to Austin Hospital, in Melbourne's northeast, and Knox Private Hospital, in Wantirna, were under investigation.

Cases linked to the West End apartment construction site in West Melbourne are also under investigation.

It's unclear how many cases have been linked to each of the spots.

Breakdown of Tuesday's cases


Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services have released their daily breakdown of the state's new cases.

Of the state's 222 new cases, 54 are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 168 are under investigation.

In terms of the state's outbreaks, here's where the numbers associated with each sit:

210 cases have been linked to Al-Taqwa College.
207 cases have been linked to Bertocchi Smallgoods in Thomastown.
205 cases have been linked to Epping Gardens Aged Care in Epping.
190 cases have been linked to St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Fawkner.
157 cases have been linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer.
149 cases have been linked to JBS in Brooklyn.
136 cases have been linked to BaptCare Wyndham Lodge Community in Werribee.
131 cases have been linked to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth.
111 cases have been linked to Outlook Gardens Aged Care Facility in Dandenong North.
110 cases have been linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Heidelberg.
101 cases have been linked to Twin Parks Aged Care in Reservoir.
100 cases have been linked to Japara Goonawarra in Sunbury.
99 cases have been linked to Cumberland Manor Aged Care Facility in Sunshine.
64 cases have been linked to Woolworths Distribution Centre in Mulgrave.
63 cases have been linked to the Linfox warehouse in Truganina.
44 cases have been linked to Catholic Regional College in Sydenham.
35 cases have been linked to Hazeldene's Chicken Farm in Bendigo.
33 cases have been linked to Ausfresh in Broadmeadows.
The DHHS is also investigating cases linked to the Austin Hospital, Knox Private Hospital and the West End apartment construction site in West Melbourne.


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