Melbourne hospitals urge patients to stay away unless in an emergency

Hospitals across Melbourne are under extreme pressure as they deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases and staff shortages due to exposure to the virus.

Today three hospitals in the city’s west begged patients not to attend unless it was a genuine medical emergency.

“Our emergency departments at Sunshine, Footscray, and Williamstown Hospitals are currently under extreme pressure,” Western Health said today, on Twitter.

“Please DO NOT attend the ED unless absolutely necessary.”

Part of the issue is people turning up at emergency with mild COVID-like symptoms wanting a test.

However, there is stress across the entire system with 1700 healthcare workers either a close contact, or a social or workplace contact of someone with COVID-19.

“It’s probably never been as bad as it is now. There are always holes in rosters,” emergency physician Dr Stephen Parnis told Today.

Three Melbourne hospitals have urged patients not to attend unless it’s a genuine medical emergency amid surging COVID-19 cases. (9News)

“I continue to be very concerned that all of our emergency departments are facing unprecedented demand.

“There are inevitably delays in certain areas and there are areas we simply cannot open because of nursing and medical shortages.”

The Victorian state government revised its rules for isolation today, meaning a healthcare worker who is a household-like contact with a COVID-19 case can go back to work sooner, but with strict conditions.

“That requires them to undertake a structured regime of daily rapid antigen testing before they go to work to not have symptoms and to go through a control program that will be rolled out by our healthcare services,” Victoria’s COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar said today.

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