Federal authorities will investigate a COVID-19 cluster at a Melbourne abattoir as the number of positive cases from the Cedar Meats outbreak reaches 69, including a nurse and an aged care worker.

The nurse, was believed to have treated a Cedar Meats worker with a severed thumb during three consecutive shifts at the Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs.

While the aged care worker who tested positive is believed to be the partner of a Cedar Meats employee.

The aged care worker is employed at the Footscray Aged Care Home which is run by Doutta Galla Aged Services who have since assured the public that there is not an outbreak in the home via media statement.

“The staff member has no symptoms, they are now in isolation in their home. The staff member last worked at the home on Sunday 26 April 2020 and has not worked since that date.”

“There is not an outbreak nor a COVID-19 cluster and no resident or staff are showing signs of infection.”

“As a precaution, Doutta Galla Aged Services has already activated its emergency response, including notifying the relevant state and federal government authorities and has commenced testing staff and residents.

“The Commonwealth Department of Health and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services have been notified and we are working closely with authorities to ensure the ongoing health and safety of residents, staff, and others.

“The home is now closed to all visitation until at least 11 May 2020.”

“We continue to practice enhanced infection control and cleaning protocols. In addition to the extra cleaning we had already implemented some weeks ago, a daily deep and detailed clean of the whole facility.”

“Additional staff have been brought in to support the home as we continue to provide the highest standard of care and support to our residents. Our staff have been briefed and are committed to the ongoing care and support of our residents.”

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has defended the government’s response to the outbreak at the Victorian abattoir, saying that it had been handled ‘perfectly,’ but Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has dubbed the Cedar Meats outbreak “Victoria’s Ruby Princess”.

Scrutiny regarding the handling of this situation has increased as it was revealed that authorities first identified a case of COVID-19 that was connected with Cedar Meats more than a month ago but did not consider the abattoir an exposure sight as the infected person said that they had not been at work.

Ms Mikakos told the press that the infected worker was interviewed on the same day he tested positive and had not been to work at Cedar Meats prior, or during becoming unwell, but recent statements by 3AW’s Neil Mitchell have cast some doubt on this story.

In an interview with Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton yesterday, Neil Mitchell revealed that a Cedar Meats employee had contacted the radio station to say that the worker that was first diagnosed had been at work while infectious.

“We had close contact with him, we saw him, we talked to him,” Mitchell said he had been told by the workmate.

Professor Sutton said that he had not heard that version of events before but did state that the story may require some ‘checking.’


Photo Credit –  7News Australia Youtube channel.

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