News Coronavirus Coronavirus outbreak at Victorian psychiatric facility investigated by health authorities

Coronavirus outbreak at Victorian psychiatric facility investigated by health authorities

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said all patients and staff at the facility were being tested. Photo: ABC News/Ron Ekkel
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Victorian health authorities are investigating an outbreak of coronavirus at a private psychiatric facility in Melbourne which has left three people in hospital, including one in intensive care.

A total of 14 cases are connected to Albert Road Clinic, a private 80-bed psychiatric facility run by Ramsay Health Care.

Five patients, five staff and four household close contacts have tested positive to coronavirus after the first case was confirmed in late March.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said further testing including all patients and staff was underway today to find any further spread.

“Given that this is a high-risk setting we are undertaking active surveillance,” she said during a press conference.

Ms Mikakos confirmed six people tested positive to COVID-19 overnight, three of whom were patients connected to the facility.

“Any person who attended Albert Road Clinic on or after Tuesday 24 March is considered at risk of developing COVID-19. This includes clinical and non-clinical staff members, patients and visitors,” a spokesman for the clinic said in a statement.

The latest detection brings the state’s total to 1343 but there had been no additional deaths.

None of the new cases were considered to be community transmission from unknown sources.

Twenty-seven people were in hospital with 11 in intensive care and three more people had recovered, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 1254.

“This reinforces the point that this is not all over,” Ms Mikakos said.

“It’s important that the community continue to follow all the restrictions.”

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said health authorities were doing “absolutely everything that is required” to halt the outbreak, with everyone in the facility and their close contacts in quarantine and needing to be tested and cleared before being “out and about again”.

Professor Sutton said the outbreak highlighted the “explosive potential” of the virus to spread rapidly within facilities.

He said some additional cases tested positive this week, causing concern about ongoing transmission at the psychiatric facility.

In response, measures had been introduced including thorough cleaning and a ban on new patients and transfers.

There was no need to identify the facility if contact tracing was undertaken, he said.

Professor Sutton said there had been a number of clusters including at healthcare facilities.

The Alfred hospital cluster hadn’t “had activity for some time” but health authorities were watching some other clusters.

-with agencies