COVID-19 mega-cluster builds in Melbourne

A disturbing development has emerged in Melbourne’s COVID-19 fight, with a mega-cluster forming:

Victoria’s two largest ever coronavirus outbreaks have now been linked, forming one huge cluster that health authorities are scrambling to contain.

Investigators say it is now clear the 113-case Al-Taqwa College cluster and the 159-case public housing towers outbreak have strong connections. It is not clear which may have become infected first.

Both outbreaks are the biggest Victoria has ever seen, surpassing the Cedar Meats outbreak’s 111 cases on Thursday.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said he didn’t know which cluster came first.

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s regular ICU is nearing capacity:

A snapshot from the federal government’s Critical Health Resource Information System, which keeps track of intensive care unit beds across Australia, shows Victoria’s staffed ICU beds were at 85 per cent capacity with 380 out of 446 beds full on Thursday.

This does not include the additional 4000 beds with ventilators the Victorian government plans to activate if needed to surge the state’s ICU capacity, a task that will require the mobilisation of thousands of specially-trained intensive care nurses.

The federal government has an additional 7500 ventilators in the national medical stockpile…

Deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth said low numbers of seriously ill COVID-19 patients meant there was “sufficient intensive care capacity, even at normal bed numbers, in Victoria at the moment.”

We are fortunate that Australia has an excellent health system and has had five months to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Hopefully the reserve capacity won’t be needed.

Leith van Onselen


  1. Rowan McKenzie

    Ventilator fatality rate is 80-97%. All you need is nasal oxygen. Much cheaper and simpler.

    Given that change, your capacity becomes much higher.

    We have ICU/hospital spikes for regular Influenza each year. We can handle it.

    • apparently putting people on a side with oxygen is way better (outcome wise) than hard core intensive care/ventilation they have been doing in Feb/March

      also cheap steroids do amazing improvements

        • This is, indeed, significant for reducing deaths due to Covid-19, if the trial results hold up broadly. As the research speculates: “If the findings hold up under scrutiny, it would mean that treating eight ventilated patients with dexamethasone would save one life.”

          That is superior to any pharmaceutical treatment so far. Of course, there is no indication of whether this will have any impact on the prevalence of secondary physiological ailments that are starting to be recognised as possible corollaries of infection with SARS-CoV-2.

          Par for the course with your posts on this topic, you fail to mention a statement near the end of this article: “Sridhar says the positive result of the Recovery trial also holds an important lesson for the debate about how best to initially respond to a pandemic like this: that delaying the spread of a pathogen, through temporary stay at home orders or other measures, can give people infected later in a pandemic a better chance of surviving. “It shows the value of buying time for science to deliver, and indicates that with time, more and more findings will come to light that help doctors manage COVID-19 patients with better clinical outcomes.”

          This is the antithesis of the “leterrip” regime you have so persistently advocated here. It’s a shame you can only ingest and regurgitate content that may (at times, faintly) support your thoroughly discredited viewpoint.

    • I am GrootMEMBER

      Ventilators are what we have, so ventilators you shall have.

      To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  2. Cookie Cutter

    >”113-case Al-Taqwa College cluster and the 159-case public housing”
    It seems that both of these cases have religious elements in common.
    Something the media cannot say?

    • It would appear that those satan worshippers have infected themselves deliberately… moron!

    • Well part of the problem is lack of English so people in the tower had to be informed in 13 different languages. That took time – too long as it turned out but there is also a problem of false info being spread , stuff that cannot be refuted until you get it translated.

  3. Looks like the patients are a lot younger on the whole so hopefully fewer of them need ICU.

    • I can’t be any clearer on this, schools are safe! Thanks SloMo…and PVO for reminding him every single day.

      • Yeah dad, as an ex primary school principal, finds pvo doing that on Twitter hilarious

  4. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Dan Andrews to speak soon. Apparently it’s leaked that the new number will blow the old numbers completely out of the water, so 300+?

  5. Stormy Waters

    Here’s a theory, Vic is the only state to give a cash payment for confirmed infection ($1500). What do they say about taxes/incentives…they change behaviour. It seems possible that for some $1500 might seem worth pursuing infection for.