Multiple doctors in Victoria – some of them early in their careers – are currently in intensive care after contracting Covid-19 at work.
An emergency department doctor at Northern Hospital in Melbourne’s outer north is in the hospital’s intensive care unit, in a stable condition, on a day when Victoria recorded 627 new cases of Covid-19 and eight new deaths.
The state’s premier, Daniel Andrews, on Friday hinted at the possibility of further lockdowns.
The president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association, Julian Rait, told Guardian Australia that “several early career doctors” had contracted the virus while helping battle the state’s second-wave outbreak.
The ABC reported that at least three Victorian healthcare workers were in intensive care on Friday, including a GP in his 30s, who was intubated at the Royal Melbourne hospital, and a 53-year-old personal care worker who worked at the St Basil’s aged care centre.
The doctor at Northern Hospital was in his 30s, according to the ABC and Nine newspapers.
Rait said that many doctors in Victoria were “distressed” as they saw their young peers contracting Covid-19 at work.
“The AMA is aware of reports of several early career doctors who are in intensive care following presumed workplace exposure to Covid-19,” he said.
“There are naturally many distressed doctors-in-training who are aware of these cases along with a number of their peers who are unwell after probably contracting Covid-19 in the workplace.
“AMA Victoria is here to support such staff at this difficult time, as we have been advocating for all healthcare workers during this pandemic, including pushing for much greater PPE, enforcing their rights around safe workloads and rostering, while seeking additional support for their mental health and well being”.
A spokesperson for Northern Health confirmed that one of its doctors was in the ICU in a stable condition.
The 53-year old personal care worker was moved out of the ICU on Friday, the ABC reported.
A South Australian paramedic also tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday after she travelled to Victoria to help testing operations in the state.
The woman in her 20s returned to Adelaide on Wednesday and is now in isolation.
In New South Wales, 21 new coronavirus cases were reported on Friday, including one person in Orange in regional NSW.
The chief executive of the Western NSW Local Health District, Scott McLachlan, said the person was a close contact of a known cluster in Sydney and was in isolation.
The fever clinic at the Orange Health Service reopened to provide testing and a drive-through testing site was set up at the Orange showground.
Six of the new cases were connected to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point, three were connected to the Our Lady of Lebanon church in Harris Park, two were connected to the Thai Rock restaurant at Wetherill Park, and two were connected to the Mounties Club in Mount Pritchard.
Two cases were also connected to the funeral gatherings cluster, two cases are still under investigation, one was linked to another known case but the source is under investigation and two are returned travellers.
Queensland recorded only one new coronavirus case on Friday morning, as recriminations continued over two women who returned to Queensland from Melbourne, failed to self-isolate and then tested positive for Covid-19.
The new case, a 27-year-old man from Bellbird Park, is a relative of two people – one of whom works in aged care – who dined at a Korean restaurant on the same night as one of the women.