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Friday, October 30, 2020

Australian death toll rises to 24 after sixth Victorian death

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Another woman has died in a Victorian hospital after contracting coronavirus, bringing the State’s death toll to six.

The number of confirmed cases in Victoria on Thursday grew to more than 1000, with the woman in her 60s becoming the sixth COVID-19 death in the state .

It takes the national virus toll to 24.

“Sadly, since this morning, we have been advised of a 6th COVID-19 death – a woman in her 60s who died in a Melbourne hospital last night,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton tweeted on Thursday.

A woman in her 70s also died in a Melbourne hospital on Wednesday night.

As of Thursday morning, in Victoria 36 people were hospitalised with the virus and six were in intensive care.

The further spread of the virus comes as 4000 healthcare workers, including retired doctors and nurses, have put up their hands to assist the Victorian government with its response to the virus.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency will reach out to retired workers to help them refresh their registration.

“We’ll then be looking to match up these skills with healthcare services across the state,” Ms Mikakos said.

The Victorian Government has also finalised a deal with major private hospitals, under which they will be “operating as one” with the public sector when infections are expected to peak locally in late May or June.

The private hospitals will be giving public access to their 9000 beds, including 170 intensive care beds.

“It will not matter whether you have private health insurance, everyone will be treated equally,” Ms Mikakos said.

Victoria has also expanded its COVID-19 testing criteria.

Police officers, child protection workers, homelessness support workers and paid or unpaid workers in health care, residential care and disability care are now being encouraged to get tested if they develop symptoms.

Immunosuppressed patients admitted to hospital and patients in high-risk settings such as military operation settings, boarding schools, prisons and correctional settings are also being told to undergo testing if they become sick.

The development comes as a staff member at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre tested positive on Wednesday.

That person is now recovering at home, while others who came into contact with the staff member are being notified and entering 14 days of self-isolation.

The hospital said it had adjusted staff rosters to cover any absences.

“Our primary focus remains the health and wellbeing of our patients and staff,“ the centre said in a statement on Thursday.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton confirmed there are now more than 100 healthcare workers who have been infected.

The majority of them contracted the virus outside of work, through international travel or coming into contact with confirmed cases.

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