COVID-19

Revealed: CCTV not on every hotel quarantine floor

In total, 23,227 tests were received across the state. There are now 22 active cases. Health Minister Martin Foley said all of the 767 workplace contacts of the infectious hotel quarantine worker have been contacted. Mr Foley said contact tracers have identified more than 1100 primary close contacts who are in the process of being tested. He told the press conference they have received 60 per cent of the results so far, all negative. “The next 48 hours will be critical in making sure we are in a position to get on top of this,” he said. INSIDE SCRAMBLE TO RAMP UP HOTEL QUARANTINEA number of changes have been made to Victoria’s hotel quarantine system following the recent outbreak as it’s revealed some rooms go unchecked by security cameras. Police Minister Lisa Neville made the revelation by detailing how the hotel quarantine program doesn’t have CCTV cameras on every floor. Authorities have previously referenced CCTV footage during their investigation into how the virus escaped from hotel quarantine. But Ms Neville said Park Royal, where COVID-19 was recently transmitted through guests, does have cameras on every floor and they would “absolutely” invest in more if needed. “Some hotels do, like Park Royal…others don’t,” she said. “We’ll get advice from the public health team about what are the best things that we need to invest in.”

It comes as Ms Neville outlined changes to the system at Saturday’s press conferences which include rules regarding mask use, deliveries and room locations. She said there were two issues of concern: transmission to the infected hotel quarantine worker and the genomic sequencing which showed the virus had seemingly spread between two families in separate rooms. “We have put in a place from Wednesday a buffering of family rooms,” she said. “As you know, the Park Royal case is because of the viral load of a large family of five people who were infectious.“That appears to have left as the door was open so we have put in place a bufferaround large families in all of our hotels. “We have taken about 140 rooms out of the hotel quarantine system as a result.”All staff have been required to wear face shields and surgical masks from Thursday and deliveries of meals will be staggered.

“You minimise any risk of the door opening at the same time, and that was implemented as well from Thursday,” she said. “So all of these changes are about acknowledging that this is a changing virus. “It is mutating, it is changing.” Ms Neville announced authorities have started a ventilation review but defended the current hotels, telling the press conference they had already rejected a number of proposed hotels based on their air flow. “The ones we have used at this program are hotels that do not share air between rooms or in common areas,” she said. “We don’t think that this is at this stage about ventilation, but we’re not leaving any stone unturned.She said there was “still no evidence at this stage to suggest” the virus can spread through ventilation. GOGGLES KEY TO SAFETY IN HOTEL QUARANTINE: EXPERTA top epidemiologist says the mandatory introduction of eye protection is an easy fix for Victoria’s hotel quarantine and is cautioning against “overblowing” the message on the virus being airborne. Epidemiologist Peter Collignon, of Australian National University, has said there was no evidence to back the airborne-virus theory and it was more likely bad luck, which can be counteracted with a few small fixes. “If you overdo the aerosol theory the implications are huge,” he said. “If it was in the airconditioning then large numbers of people would be infected.”Like many experts, Professor Collignon said it was more likely a build-up of droplets in a room that travelled when hotel room doors were opened.

He said face shields or eyewear should be compulsory for hotel workers. Epidemiologist Peter Collignon, of Australian National University, has said there was no evidence to back the airborne-virus theory and it was more likely bad luck, which can be counteracted with a few small fixes. “If you overdo the aerosol theory the implications are huge,” he said. “If it was in the airconditioning then large numbers of people would be infected.”Like many experts, Professor Collignon said it was more likely a build up of droplets in a room that travelled when hotel room doors were opened. He said face shields or eyewear should be compulsory for hotel workers.

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