Hospital staffer contracts COVID-19 after exposure to meat plant worker

A hospital staff member in Melbourne's west has tested positive to coronavirus after being exposed to a patient who worked at Cedar Meats.

Hospital staffer contracts COVID-19 after exposure to meat plant worker

A hospital staff member in Melbourne's west has tested positive to coronavirus after being exposed to a patient who worked at Cedar Meats.

Western Health confirmed to 9News the employee became infected with the virus after the patient attended the Sunshine Hospital to receive emergency treatment on April 23, prior to diagnosis of COVID-19 or developing symptoms.

CEO Russell Harrison said the worker was one of 24 employees who had been in self-quarantine since the plant worker was later diagnosed with COVID-19.

"Unfortunately one of the Western Health staff members in self-quarantine following exposure to a patient who was later diagnosed with COVID-19, has since tested positive for the virus," Mr Harrison said.

"Our thoughts are with our colleague and their family.

"Western Health is providing all the necessary supports for the staff member, who continues to self-isolate at home and we will continue to liaise closely with them."

No other staff members have tested positive to the virus at this time.

Victoria has recorded 17 new cases of coronavirus, including another four infections linked to the outbreak at the Brooklyn meat plant.

Virus cases at Cedar Meats have surged to 49, with mostly abattoir workers infected.

The Department of Health confirmed the first case of the cluster was diagnosed on April 2, but since the person had not been at the plant for four weeks, the workplace was not considered an exposure site.

The second case linked to the facility was diagnosed on April 24, followed by the plant worker on April 26, who earlier attended Sunshine Hospital.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton told 3AW he was confident the original source of the cluster had not stemmed from a worker who tested positive for the virus in early April. 

A total of 34 coronavirus cases have now been linked to the Cedar Meats plant in Brooklyn.

"I have been told that, that early case wasn't part of the cluster - wasn't on site," he said.

Prof. Sutton said the early cases linked to the cluster were known, but it remained unclear how the outbreak emerged.

"People can have really mild symptoms and we'll really struggle to understand who introduced it and when, but somebody's brought it into the facility."

Authorities began contact tracing once the second person tested positive to the virus.

9News understands Cedar Meats only found out there were COVID-19 infections prior to April 27 during a phone call with the Department of Health last night.

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General manager Tony Kairouz said in a statement all 350 staff had been tested for the virus.

"From the time we became aware that one of our staff had contracted the virus we had kept our staff closely informed," he said.

"By Thursday 30 April we mandated to all staff that they had to get tested for COVID-19. We worked closely with DHHS and by the end of the day Friday 1 May, all staff had been sent for testing."

Victoria has a total of 1440 cases of COVID-19. Among the new cases, seven were from overseas travellers in mandatory hotel quarantine and six remain under investigation.

There are 145 cases that may have been acquired through community transmission. Currently eight people are in hospital, including six patients in intensive care.

A total of 162,000 tests have been conducted in the state.

Cash boost for casual public sector workers

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has announced 3000 of the state's casual workers in the public sector would be entitled to a cash boost of $1500 per fortnight before tax, if they lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The support package would last until September and would see workers redeployed to other areas in the public sector experiencing a surge in demand, such as healthcare.

Mr Pallas said the scheme was necessary due to casual public sector workers such as swimming pool lifeguards, staff at the Melbourne Aquatic Centre, ticket staff at the Melbourne Museum or the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, being ineligible for the JobKeeper program.

"We are protecting thousands of jobs for casual public sector workers who have been stood down due to coronavirus," he said.

"These workers are not eligible for the Commonwealth's JobKeeper payments so we're stepping in and making sure they get the support they need to make it through to the other side of the crisis."

The fortnightly payment scheme will be funded through the support of all three tiers of government, federal, state and local councils, meaning ratepayers will foot a percentage of the cash boost.

Source : 9 News More   

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Accused serial killer won't testify at trial

The man accused of murdering three women at Claremont in the 1990s has decided against giving evidence at his trial.

Accused serial killer won't testify at trial

The accused Claremont serial killer has elected not to take the stand at his trial while the prosecution has abandoned its "emotional upset" argument that the killings corresponded to key moments in the deterioration of his first marriage.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia trial of Bradley Robert Edwards has run for more than five months.

The former Telstra-technician is fighting charges he murdered secretary Sarah Spiers, childcare worker Jane Rimmer and solicitor Ciara Glennon in 1996 and 1997.

On Wednesday, after the state closed its case, it emerged the prosecution was not pursuing the emotional turmoil evidence.

Justice Stephen Hall asked Edwards directly if he would take the stand and he replied he would not, but would adduce evidence, which his lawyer said was a report relating to weather.

He did not call any witnesses, so the defence case is also closed.

The trial is now adjourned until June 8, when oral submissions will begin, followed by closing addresses.

Justice Hall is then expected to take several months to deliver his verdict.

Earlier, the state's final witness Detective Senior Sergeant Joseph Marrapodi finished giving his evidence and taking the court through video of the 51-year-old's interview following his dramatic arrest in December 2016.

Former Telstra worker Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, is accused of murdering Sarah Spiers, 18, Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, who were all last seen in the entertainment strip of the affluent Perth suburb in 1996 and 1997.

The month before the trial started, Edwards admitted abducting a teenager from a Claremont park and raping her at nearby Karrakatta cemetery in 1995, and breaking into a Huntingdale home and indecently assaulting a woman as she slept in 1988.

But when detectives interviewed him on and off for about 14 hours, he repeatedly denied everything.

His cheek was swabbed during the interview and he was warned when the pathology laboratory returned its findings hours later.

The prosecution says Edwards' DNA was found on a kimono he left behind at the Huntingdale house, on the rape victim and underneath Ms Glennon's fingernails, some of which broke off as she fought her attacker.

"Brace yourself, Bradley - I have some results here," Det Snr Sgt Joseph Marrapodi said in the video.

"Your DNA sample was a positive result."

There were long stretches of silence in between Edwards breathing deeply as he held his head in his hand.

"How can that be? I don't understand that," the former Telstra technician said.

"I didn't do any of this."

The detective then asked him to explain how his DNA came to be on the rape victim.

"How can I explain it? You're assuming I've done it," Edwards replied.

The ex-Little Athletics coach was then shown a photograph of Ms Glennon and told the same DNA had been recovered from her body, which was dumped in bushland.

"What happened Bradley?" the detective asked.

"I don't know. I wish I could explain it and say I was wherever," Edwards replied.

He was also shown a photo of the kimono and claimed he'd never seen it before.

Source : 9 News More   

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