Virus case puts aged care home in lockdown

An aged care home in Victoria is in lockdown after a carer tested positive to coronavirus.
An aged care home in Victoria is in lockdown after a carer tested positive to coronavirus.

A Victorian aged care centre is in lockdown after a worker tested positive to coronavirus, while a kindergarten teacher is also among the 10 latest cases.

The carer at Embracia Aged Care in Reservoir and the Macleod Preschool teacher were confirmed on Tuesday to have the virus.

The workers were picked up as infectious after going for routine testing, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told reporters.

The kindergarten is shut for cleaning, while the aged care worker is self-isolating at home, and all staff and visitors considered to be close contacts will be put into quarantine.

Staff and residents at the aged centre centre will be tested, the minister said.

"Even one case in an aged care home is classified as an outbreak," Ms Mikakos said.

Embracia Aged Care general manager Damien Lippiatt said the employee last worked on May 27, and did three other shifts in the previous two weeks.

Mr Lippiatt said the staff member visited their GP as soon as they started showing symptoms, and praised their quick action in informing Embracia as soon as their results were known.

Despite the minister's comment, he noted in a statement late on Tuesday afternoon that no other residents or staff had shown virus signs or symptoms.

"We want to assure you that there is not an outbreak nor a COVID-19 cluster at Embracia Reservoir," Mr Lippiatt said in a statement.

Of the new cases, four have been tied to the outbreak at Rydges on Swanston, taking that cluster to 12.

The hotel had been housing quarantined returned travellers, but all guests have been moved to alternative accommodation.

Hotel and department staff have been put into quarantine, Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said of the outbreak.

The other four new cases, found in routine testing, are under investigation.

Victoria has completed more than 521,000 tests and the state's total recorded cases stand at 1663, the health department confirmed.

The death toll remains at 19 while 1563 people have recovered and 79 cases are active in Victoria. There are nine people in hospital.

Almost 170 people may have acquired the virus in community transmission.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government was keeping a close eye on Victoria's response to COVID-19.

"So, we keep our closest watch on Victoria, and there's always going to be somewhere that has its challenges, but the responses that are occurring, the testing and the tracing are the things that have helped set Australia apart worldwide," he told reporters on Tuesday.

The state government also confirmed it was introducing legislation in parliament to strengthen nurse-to-midwife patient ratios - fulfilling the second stage of an election commitment.

Under the promise, an extra 500 nurse and midwife positions would be opened up, bringing the total extra staff to 1100.

The state government will also spend $100,000 towards an exhibition to honour the nursing profession.

Dr van Diemen said a Keilor Downs secondary school was due to reopen after previously having a positive case.

A St Albans South primary school impacted in the coronavirus cluster is also due to open on Wednesday, she said.

Australian Associated Press