Victoria sounds alarm as hospital wards are slammed with Covid patients – here’s what the state’s so-called ‘Code Brown’ warning means for you
- Victoria called ‘Code Brown’ for Melbourne hospitals and six regional facilities
- Alert means that less urgent health services can be deferred to other hospital
- The order will also mean some hospital staff may be recalled from their leave
- There are about 5,000 health staff unavailable in Victoria after catching Covid
Victoria has called a ‘Code Brown’ as the number of Covid patients in hospital surges across the state.
The state’s health authorities have sounded the alarm for all Melbourne hospitals and six regional hospitals: Barwon, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury/Wondonga and Latrobe.
A ‘Code Brown’ warning means under-pressure hospitals can defer less urgent health services to other facilities and cut outpatient services to free up staff to work in intensive care units.
The alert will come into effect from midday on Wednesday.
The code brown declaration is expected to last from four to six weeks and will ease pressure on the system ahead of the expected peak in hospital cases.
Victoria has called a ‘Code Brown’ to take pressure off the state’s hospital wards, which are overwhelmed by Covid patients. Pictured is a paramedic moving equipment outside St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne on January 11
The order will also mean some hospital staff may be recalled from leave.
Any cancellation of leave will be negotiated between the hospital and staff.
There are about 5,000 health staff unavailable across the state after they tested positive for Covid or were identified as close contacts.
Despite the seriousness of the alert, many made light of the name of the warning online.
‘In my day code brown meant everyone had to get out of the pool,’ one person wrote on Twitter.
‘Stop saying code brown,’ another said. ‘It has such smelly connotations.’
The alert came as Victoria recorded 20,180 cases on Tuesday and the number of Covid patients being treated in the state’s hospitals rose to 1,152.
The state also recorded 22 new Covid-related deaths.
Tuesday’s new infections include 11,747 from rapid antigen tests and 8433 from PCR tests.
It is the second consecutive day case numbers have declined in the state.
It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 235,035 – a fall of about 10,000 cases since Monday.
Victoria recorded a 10 per cent drop in Covid cases on Tuesday (pictured tennis fans attending day one of the Australian Open on Monday)
Tuesday’s patient numbers are a decrease of 77 on the previous day.
The number of people in ICU has decreased by two to 127, though 43 people are now on ventilation, an increase of five.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Monday said hospitalisation numbers were yet to peak, as he predicted that may not be reached for a month.
He said there was a lag of about two weeks between case numbers and hospital admissions, and three weeks for that to translate to ICU figures.
More to come