Victoria health authorities are investigating how a hotel quarantine worker contracted coronavirus after testing positive for the virus.
The state health department announced the positive result Wednesday night, saying: “Our public health teams are investigating and close contacts are being notified. More details will be provided overnight. “
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews was expected to hold a press conference at 10.30pm on Wednesday to discuss the positive case.
Earlier on Wednesday, the state government revealed that a traveler returning from hotel quarantine had tested positive for the same Covid variant in the UK as a family staying across the hall, and health authorities suspected that the viral load was “so high” that it jumped down the hall. .
The transmission from the hotel came as Western Australian authorities reported that a Perth quarantine guard who contracted coronavirus also did not come into close contact with a traveler who returned with the infection from the UK.
Victoria’s Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville announced Wednesday that the hotel’s transmission occurred between two rooms on the same floor of Melbourne’s Park Royal hotel.
A family of five arrived on January 20 and all tested positive on January 23. A woman in another room across the hall tested positive on January 27. All were transferred to health hotels designed to treat positive cases.
Neville said the danger of community transmission was “exceptionally low,” but authorities were still trying to determine how the transmission occurred. CCTV footage showed there were no protocol violations by guests or staff. Workers always wore personal protective equipment.
Authorities are examining the ventilation system, but Neville said a report at the time the Park Royal was commissioned by the government to quarantine the hotel showed that no air was being shared between rooms or common areas.
The minister said the working assumption was that the family’s viral load was so high that it spread down the hall when the door was opened.
“The only reason people open the doors – there is no interaction with the staff – is to pick up their food or leave their old clothes … because no one can enter their room,” Neville said.
All staff working at the hotel have been sent home to quarantine and are being examined. So are all the other guests on the same floor, including those who have recently left.
Authorities in WA are similarly working to determine how a security guard who tested positive for Covid-19 became infected despite not directly interacting with a traveler who returned with the variant from the UK.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook corrected his earlier claim Wednesday that the guard had interacted with the traveler. Cook said the man had somehow contracted the virus while sitting without a mask 10 feet from the guest’s room.
The door to the room was opened seven times during the guard’s 12-hour shift by other security guards and hotel quarantine personnel who were delivering food or medicine.
“Yesterday we reported that the security guard in question delivered some medications in that room; now I can reveal that he was not the person who did that, ”Cook said.
“We have established that everyone on that date was wearing the appropriate PPE. The security guard did not approach the door during the day, however, obviously it can be understood with seven different visits during that day to the person in question, it would appear that there was some spread of the disease.
Cook said the security guard was not required to wear a mask while sitting in his chair near the stairs.
State health department infectious disease expert Dr. Paul Armstrong said authorities were investigating possible infection scenarios, including that the returning traveler coughed during one of seven visits to his room that day, sending drops into the corridor, or that the hotel security guard touched a contaminated surface and then “stuck his fingers in his eyes and mouth.”
“We haven’t found out exactly how that broadcast event happened,” he said.
Armstrong said the virus was not thought to be transmitted through the air conditioning system. Evidence to date suggests that Covid-19 “is not a pathogen that can be transmitted by air conditioning.”
Western Australia on Wednesday recorded its third day with no new community cases, raising hopes that the five-day lockdown will be lifted as planned on Friday.
Speaking at a Mundaring wildfire concentration camp set up to respond to a wildfire that destroyed 71 homes on the eastern outskirts of Perth, Washington Prime Minister Mark McGowan said that “if we continue on a zero streak to the Friday, the total closure will end. “
McGowan said some form of restrictions would remain in effect until the state had gone at least 14 days without local broadcast.
The health council implemented in WA last month, when the security guard worked his last shift and is believed to have contracted the virus, required guards to wear a mask, goggles and other appropriate personal protective equipment and wear it when they were around. 1.5 meters away. a room that houses a returning traveler.
That advice has since been updated to require the use of face masks at all times, Armstrong said, adding that the previous policy on face masks was “based on the advice of a very, very experienced infection prevention control team. “.
“That question has been raised several times, but overall, the political decision was that these guards did not need to wear masks,” he said. “We all have to remember that there have been around 37,000 people in those hotels. Under this policy, several hundred of them have turned positive and we have had no violations. Something is different in that circumstance and we have to learn from it and change our policy ”.
Armstrong said wearing a mask in circumstances where it was not necessary could make people touch their faces more.
“It’s very sweaty, it’s hot, and the more you wear it, the more irritated you get and the more likely you are to touch your mask,” he said.
One reporter said it was “ridiculous” to require 2 million people in Perth, Peel and the Southwest to wear a face mask when people working in hotel quarantine do not.
Armstrong replied that “many journalists [here] they are playing with masks all the time. “
“This is not a panacea, there are downsides,” he said.
Washington authorities conducted 12,326 tests Tuesday. There are now 189 people identified as close contacts of the security guard and 234 casual contacts, all of whom are isolated. 116 test results were received with no positive results. The man’s housemates, who tested negative Sunday, have been retested.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism