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.