How the Victorian Government failed COVID-19 contract tracing

The hits keep coming for Daniel Andrews’ Victorian Government, with a 9News investigative report revealing that the Government scaled back contract tracing efforts just as the virus outbreak began from failed hotel quarantine:

Evidence of Victoria’s contract tracing data is illustrated in the next chart showing the virus erupting in Victoria, while cases have remained under control in NSW:

Recall also that the Andrews Government starved the public health unit of funding, leaving it critically short of contract tracers:

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s team was so poorly funded that top bureaucrats warned the Andrews government multiple times the state’s public health unit was the worst resourced in the country.

While the alarm was sounded in May 2019, according to documents seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the Department of Health and Human Services still had only 14 contact tracers by the time coronavirus took hold in Australia in March.

The government was put on notice about the poor state of its public health team last year when the DHHS document comparing Victoria’s resourcing to NSW and Queensland was circulated as part of a push for extra funding.

The document, which describes the main role of a public health team as “preventing the transmission of communicable diseases [and] managing outbreaks”, gives a stark assessment of Victoria’s preparedness…

Several DHHS sources claim the government’s difficulties in getting the second deadly wave of coronavirus under control could be linked to ongoing problems with contact tracing…

“PHOs [public health officers] in the CDPC [Communicable Disease and Prevention Control] Unit in Victoria have been managing much higher case load numbers and had higher population ratios than similar staff in other states and territories, with the number of PHO staff in Victoria half the size of … (New South Wales),” it warned…

According to the documents, Victoria had just six physicians in its health protection branch compared to 24 in NSW and 17 in Queensland…

Despite the warnings that Victoria needed a bigger public health team, the number of staff had been in decline for at least 18 months before coronavirus hit Australia…

“The bungling of hotel quarantine is a major factor in Victoria’s case numbers, but even before that we were struggling,” another department source said…

No wonder COVID-19 cases continue to run rampant in Victoria, which let the virus in and then failed to control its spread.

Leith van Onselen
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  1. kannigetMEMBER

    Yeah, Couldnt have been the fact that Victorians dont think they need to be concerned… 800 confirmed infected not home during their self isolation period….

    Contact tracing people who refuse to cooperate is always going to be a failure but they could have ramped up the program, I am sure the ADF could have been deployed quickly to help out wit this as well..

      • kannigetMEMBER

        Nah, Just not stupid enough to exonerate them from their responsibility because I have a political beef with the premier.

        The problem is a widespread collection of issues and people refusing to follow isolation protocol because they dont want to IS a large part of the problem. If you cant see that then your probably wearing your mask a little to high up…..

        If a HIV infected person willfully risks the life of a sexual partner they can be held to manslaughter… They are a victim themselves but the law does not care, being a victim of one crime does not exonerate you of another.

      • If a confirmed infected refuses to self isolate and swans about infecting others how are they the victims.
        No one is defending andrews but we have a responsibility to each other as a community as well.

    • erutangisMEMBER

      Well.. it’s called that because if they aren’t home when they get visited they put a contract on them. 😀

    • No wonder they failed, they had the wrong people in the wrong department calling the wrong people

      What a disaster

      Where’s mig to weigh in on this shocking revelation

  2. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Contact tracing is one of thing the government can outsource to the private sector when it needs more manpower. The problem for Victoria is that none of Dan’s mate is running a call centre.

    • But the work would then be outsourced to India and every time they called someone the recipient would just hang up the phone as soon as they heard the accent.

  3. Because we can.

    Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the man was now facing a criminal investigation because his approved application said he was returning to WA, whereas a previous application had him listed as living in Tasmania.

    “That’s why he was rejected at the airport, because the circumstances that have been put in the subsequent application are different than the information that was earlier provided and that is now the subject of a criminal investigation,” he told Gareth Parker on 6PR.

    “Clearly we have grounds to have an investigation based on our advice and on the information that has been provided.

  4. Robert Johnson

    Contact Tracing doesn’t work for category 2 influenza pandemics like COVID. It is impossible to trace something that for most people results in minor or no symptoms. This is not Ebola or SARS.

    Look at Bergamo province, Italy – 57% of the population has antibodies which translates to 46 people with antibodies for every one confirmed ‘case’.

    • Contact tracing is calling people/business/persons who have had proximity contact with a confirmed infected person and telling them to self isolate for 2 weeks and/or get tested.
      How is that impossible,

  5. Contact tracing may work with small clusters in pubs and restaurants but once it gets into third world immigrant areas filled with predominantly young men with limited English and documentation, you’ve got no chance.

    Western Sydney makes Melbourne look almost monocultural by comparison. It’s got to be seen to be believed and if the environmental conditions hit a sweet spot, it’ll be game on for NSW Liberals like Scummo and Gladys.

  6. critically short of contract tracers

    Those Vic contact tracers really had their work cut out for them getting the Cedar Meats outbreak under control even with the Level 3 restrictions applying at the time.

    In spite of that, Andrews and his advisers thought they were good to go under Level 2.