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Rydges Embracia first link between Melbourne hotel quarantine program and aged care home

Victoria’s health department has discovered how a hotel quarantine security guard spread the coronavirus to an aged care home.

A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) report tendered to Victoria’s Hotel Quarantine Inquiry has linked a case associated with an Embracia Aged Care facility genomically to the Rydges hotel on Swanston St.

A formal link has been pinpointed to a female security guard at Rydges hotel who shared a home with an aged care worker at Embracia, The Age reported.

Pictured: Embracia Aged Care Home, Reservoir. A security guard from Rydges shared a home with an Embracia aged care worker who took the virus to Reservoir, infecting two others

Pictured: Embracia Aged Care Home, Reservoir. A security guard from Rydges shared a home with an Embracia aged care worker who took the virus to Reservoir, infecting two others

An elderly patient is removed from an aged care facility in Melbourne  on July 31

An elderly patient is removed from an aged care facility in Melbourne  on July 31 

This link only relates to two cases at the Embracia Reservoir aged care facility.

Victoria’s horror outbreak has so far killed 716 people, of which more than 550 were elderly, as the virus ripped through aged care homes.

The state recorded 37 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday to bring the total to 19,800 of which 1,251 are active infections.

Of those now sick, 625 active cases are related to aged care facilities, the DHHS said on Saturday, which is down from 861 a week ago.

Victoria’s second wave began in May when, instead of assigning Victoria Police to secure hotel quarantine, the Andrews Government instead hired private security firms. 

A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) report tendered to Victoria's Hotel Quarantine Inquiry has linked a case associated with Embracia Aged Care facility genomically to the Rydges hotel on Swanston St. Pictured: Rydges on July 14

A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) report tendered to Victoria’s Hotel Quarantine Inquiry has linked a case associated with Embracia Aged Care facility genomically to the Rydges hotel on Swanston St. Pictured: Rydges on July 14

A medical worker enters an aged care facility on July 30. Victoria's health department has found how one hotel quarantine security guard spread the coronavirus to an aged care home

A medical worker enters an aged care facility on July 30. Victoria’s health department has found how one hotel quarantine security guard spread the coronavirus to an aged care home

Private security guards spread the coronavirus into the community after working at the Swanston St Rydges in Carlton and the Stamford Plaza in the CBD.

The DHHS report found that a Rydges security guard lived with an Embracia staff member who worked at the aged care facility in Reservoir, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and passed on the virus in June, leading to two cases there. 

The staff member did not work at Embracia’s other care home in Avondale Heights, Moonee Valley, where a major outbreak killed five and infected 46 people connected to the centre.      

The Moonee Valley outbreak spread from the Menarock aged care home in Essendon where seven died and 68 people contracted the virus.  

Last month, the inquiry heard how 90 per cent of cases in the second outbreak can be traced to a family who moved into the Rydges on Swanston hotel on May 15 after displaying coronavirus symptoms

Last month, the inquiry heard how 90 per cent of cases in the second outbreak can be traced to a family who moved into the Rydges on Swanston hotel on May 15 after displaying coronavirus symptoms 

Embracia managing director Sarah McKenzie said contact tracing by DHHS had often contained wrong information, including an attempt to trace a resident who died before the pandemic even started.

When a coronavirus case was identified, elderly residents had to isolate in their rooms for long periods and that even when residents at the Moonee Valley centre had tested negative 10 times, they still weren’t allowed out.

Ms McKenzie said some residents spent more than 40 days without symptoms, in their rooms alone.  

Victoria’s Hotel Quarantine Inquiry is probing the decision to hire private security firms instead of using the police or military.

Last month, the inquiry heard how 90 per cent of cases in the second outbreak can be traced to a family who moved into the Rydges on Swanston hotel on May 15 after displaying coronavirus symptoms. 

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton will face the inquiry this coming week along with police chief Shane Patton and Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp.

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.

Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28. 

Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.

Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.

COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal. 

Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:

Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am

People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)

Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours

 Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’ 

Childcare and early educators to remain closed

Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions

 Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption

 Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry 

– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only

– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect

– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping 

Step two – September 28:

Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households

Childcare and early educators can re-open

Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4 

 There will be an increase to permitted workplaces

Step three – October 26:

Curfew is no longer in place

There are no restrictions on leaving home

Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors

 A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another 

Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class

– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite 

 Work from home is encouraged

– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor

– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed

– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment

– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked 

Step four – November 23:

Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors

 Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time

 All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place

– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue

– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants

Step five – COVID normal:

Public gatherings have no restriction

 There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes

– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers

  Schools to reopen as normal

– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records 

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