COVID-19

Ambo code red amid Covid surge

The crisis protocol was in place for one-and-a-half hours from about 2am.Additional staff were recalled, managers returned to duty to manage hospital transfers and there was a rapid offloading of patients to meet the surge in demand, Ambulance Victoria said.“These measures had a swift effect in reducing the impact on ambulance services,” a spokesperson said.“We thank the community for helping us save triple-0 (000) for emergencies.”It’s the second time ambulance services have been pushed to breaking point in as many weeks after a code red was enacted last Tuesday due to staff shortages.On that night, 146 staff were unable to work due to illness, or because they were caring for family members with Covid.It comes as more than 170 Victorian nursing homes are facing Covid outbreaks, including four homes that authorities hold concerns for and are closely monitoring.The latest federal weekly aged care report reveals 176 Victorian facilities have active outbreaks, infecting more than 1000 residents and 430 staff members.A facility is defined as having an outbreak if at least one resident, or two staff members, test positive.Health experts have also asked employers to consider asking staff to return to working from home, as Covid cases and hospitalisations surge across Victoria.Covid deaths are expected to spike, amid a “new wave” of Covid infections driven by the highly infectious and more vaccine resistant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub variants.The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), made up of the nation’s chief health officers, said working from home could again be necessary.In a statement on Friday night, the peak health advisory group said: “Employers should review their occupational health and safety risks and mitigations, and their business continuity plans . . . They should consider the feasibility of some employees working from home and support employees to take leave when sick.”Australian Medical Association Victoria president Roderick McRae said the state was in the middle of a health emergency “and yet everyone is wilfully ignoring the fact that our healthcare system is in crisis today and will get worse tomorrow”.Dr McRae said it was hard to believe health advice handed to the Andrews government hadn’t led to further restrictions.“I find it very difficult to see how any advice they are receiving is any different to what I see happening in front of us on the frontline,” he said.“It seems to me that there’s an overweight influence from the business community that we’ve just got to live with this virus.”

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