Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville races to trace COVID case at cancer ward

Authorities are racing to identify all vulnerable young patients exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak at a cancer ward at a children’s hospital in Melbourne.

A patient’s parent spent at least four days at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville while contagious, with an exposure period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 4.

A hospital spokeswoman said contact tracing was still ongoing Wednesday night, and as a result, these dates may change.

The hospital’s cancer care unit Kookaburra has been identified as a tier 1 exposure site and the high street has been listed as a tier 2 site for Sept. 26.

RCH chief executive Bernadette McDonald said all affected patients, parents or carers have been placed in hospital single rooms to quarantine for 14 days, with contact tracing underway for everyone else.

Vulnerable young patients have been exposed to COVID-19 at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Credit: AAP

No children in the cancer ward had tested positive on Wednesday night, but the hospital has 12 COVID-positive patients under its care, four in other wards and eight who are being treated at home.

McDonald said some children come to the hospital with other illnesses or injuries and then test positive for COVID.

But she said, “We don’t see extreme illness in children.”

It comes as Victoria registered the deadliest day of the third wave of the pandemic, after 11 people died from COVID-19 on Wednesday. The state also reported 1,420 new locally acquired cases.

Signage for the Royal Children’s Hospital can be seen in Melbourne. Credit: JAMES ROSS/MONKEY IMAGE

The state government has announced that Victorians stranded in the ACT and NSW can return home if border restrictions are relaxed overnight.

Areas considered red zones in NSW and the ACT have been downgraded to orange zones, allowing residents and non-residents to enter Victoria if they test and isolate within 72 hours of arrival until they get a negative result.

Meanwhile, extreme risk zone classifications for closed-off areas such as Greater Sydney have been downgraded to red, meaning people can return if they’ve been isolated at home for 14 days.

Comments are closed.