One of Melbourne’s busiest hospitals has been hit so hard by coronavirus outbreak it can’t take ANY emergency patients – as health insiders make chilling prediction about weeks ahead
- Paramedics were advised to take patients to hospitals other than Werribee
- Werribee Mercy Hospital forced ambulances away on Wednesday night
- Only two emergency cases were accepted into the hospital overnight
- Ambulances appeared to continue to avoid the hospital on Thursday morning
- Four cases of COVID-19 were linked to Werribee Mercy Hospital last week
Paramedics have been told not to bring patients to the emergency ward at one of Melbourne’s busiest hospitals as it grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak that has ‘infiltrated’ the wards.
Fears the virus could overwhelm Werribee Mercy Hospital escalated overnight, with staff telling ambulance workers its emergency room was a no-go zone on Thursday due to concerns of an outbreak.
Daily Mail Australia has been told Werribee Mercy is among a growing number of hospitals across metropolitan Melbourne that are struggling to cope with staff being exposed to the virus.
A nurse checks a woman who entered the emergency department doors at Werribee Mercy Hospital on Thursday
The emergency department at Werribee Mercy Hospital did not take on ambulances on Wednesday night and did not appear to be accepting them on Thursday morning either
So concerned are hospitals about outbreaks during Victoria’s deadly second wave that many have stopped visitors attending altogether.
A source told Daily Mail Australia Melbourne’s hospitals faced serious concerns of being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases over the coming days and weeks.
‘It’s pretty much the same (at hospitals) across the city,’ the source said. ‘It’s infiltrating.’
Last week, it was revealed the Department of Health and Human Services were investigating four cases of the virus linked to Werribee Mercy Hospital.
In March, one emergency department worker tested positive to COVID-19 causing other staff members considered at risk of infection to be isolated and tested.
A further three were confirmed then as also having the virus.
On Thursday, Wyndham, where Werribee Mercy is located, continued to top Victoria’s active COVID-19 scoreboard with 913 active cases.
Only the municipality of Brimbank, also in Melbourne’s western suburbs, ranked close with 886 active cases.
Werribee Mercy Hospital’s emergency department was turning away ambulances on Wednesday night due to staff shortages related to COVID-19
Many of Wyndham’s residents infected with the virus are extremely vulnerable, with 83 cases linked to BaptCare Wyndham Lodge Community and 74 cases to Glendale Aged Care Facility in Werribee.
Victoria recorded 278 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths on Thursday as 1140 active cases were confirmed in healthcare workers themselves.
In total, 2073 healthcare workers have had COVID-19 to date, which has likely led to thousands more needing to isolate while they underwent tests for being in close contact.
As the aged care outbreaks continue to grow, the state has taken over three additional aged care centres.
Many residents, some already with COVID-19, are being housed at Melbourne’s already busy hospitals, which threaten to be overrun with the virus.
At present, 664 people with coronavirus are in hospital, including 37 in intensive care.
Sources have told Daily Mail Australia ambulances were told to bypass Werribee on Wednesday as the hospital did not have enough staff to treat them.
The bypasses threaten to become more frequent as hospital staff at Werribee and other COVID hotspots are forced off work due to infection or contact with an infected coworker.
It remains unclear if any patients within Werribee Mercy Hospital have become infected themselves through contact within the hospital.
A spokesman for Werribee Mercy Hospital told Daily Mail Australia the hospital ‘elected to bypass ambulances’ on Wednesday night due to a ‘staff management situation’.
The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne suffered from COVID related deaths earlier this year during the first coronavirus outbreak
People line up to get tested for COVID at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in March
The hospital refused to confirm if an outbreak of COVID-19 was loose in the hospital or if any staff or patients actually had the virus.
On Thursday morning, Daily Mail Australia observed the hospital’s emergency department standing vacant for hours without a single visit from an ambulance.
In April, The Alfred Hospital came under fire after it failed to reveal to the public for days that it not only had a COVID-19 outbreak, but that patients had died from it.
More than a 100 staff were forced into isolation as the virus ravaged sections of the hospital.
Then last month, the hospital was described as a ‘breeding ground’ for COVID-19 after eight staff members tested positive, forcing hundreds more into self isolation.