A Victorian Government Minister says reports that nurses have been working across multiple COVID-19 quarantine hotels in Melbourne are “concerning”.
The Age has reported a whistleblower’s claims that a private contractor asked nurses to do shifts across nine of the hotels last month amid staff shortages, in breach of State Government rules.
The newspaper said the claims from the registered nurse were backed up by leaked paperwork including rosters and emails.
At a press conference this morning, Victorian Transport Minister Ben Carroll said the individual had also “taken the matter up through appropriate channels”.
Mr Carroll said nurses working across quarantine hotels was “prohibited” and the whistleblower had taken the right course of action, “but this is a matter for CQV [COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria]”.
“So I’m sure this won’t be the end it,” he said.
“It is concerning. We know first-hand that one of the primary reasons we have hotel quarantine and the strictest guidelines in place is that people work at the one facility and not across.
“So it is concerning, but I’m very happy to know that it’s being followed up.”
Mr Carroll said he was not aware of the claims before the media reports emerged on Saturday.
A Victorian Government spokesperson said CQV had a “clear site exclusivity policy” and staff were not permitted to work across different quarantine sites.
“Their work is mostly done via telehealth, with face to face contact with residents confined to COVID-19 testing and essential physical assessments or treatment (for example in emergency situations).”
The spokesperson said that all on-site staff had to have daily tests and follow strict infection prevention and control measures and staff members were encouraged to report matters.
Mr Carroll said he could not confirm reports international arrivals to Melbourne would restart in a week’s time and that was a matter for the Premier.
Airline crew member tests positive in hotel quarantine
Earlier, the Department of Health said that no new local transmitted cases of coronavirus had been detected in Victoria in the previous 24 hours.
However, one person had tested positive in hotel quarantine.
“The one positive case is an airline crew member, who will quarantine for 14 days at the health hotel,” a state government spokesperson said.
“We still have airline crew members coming in for outbound flights and freight.”