The majority of workers in Victoria's revamped hotel quarantine program who became infected with coronavirus were cleaners for contractor Spotless, the Chief Health Officer says.
At least one was linked with an aged care facility, despite concerns raised about the risks associated with casualised workforces after the state's second COVID-19 wave was unleashed by private security contractors in two quarantine hotels.
Private contractors overseeing hotel quarantine at Southbank’s Novotel were replaced with police on Wednesday.Credit:Penny Stephens
A Victoria Police officer and a Department of Health and Human Services staff member, who were also infected, were linked to positive cases in the community.
"The cases that occurred in these settings were absolutely a reflection of the very substantial community transmission in Melbourne at that time and, in fact, cleaning services are a vulnerable cohort for infection," Professor Sutton said.
There are currently 55 people in Melbourne's quarantine hotels, including a Frankston family linked to the latest outbreak at Chadstone shopping centre.
When asked if the state government was consulted about Alfred Health's contracts with Spotless, Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said: "Alfred are world leaders around infection control. We have confidence in the relationships that they bring."
Ms Hennessy said the overhauled program had "strong and accountable leadership" and cleaning and waste disposal, mental health support, infection control and welfare measures had been reviewed.
"[We are] making sure that we have got proper oversight, audit and proper checks and balances … [and] training and really making sure that we continue to keep very, very focused on our infection controls," she said.
Corrections Victoria Commissioner Emma Cassar, who is overseeing the rebooted program, said all quarantine workers receive face-to-face infection control training. At the start of the program, private security guards and nurses were asked to complete online training modules.
"I think the one message is that we are really confident in the reset and when flights arrive, we certainly will be ready," she said.
"Things like cleaning standards, waste standards, linen standards, food standards and all of the activities that are the foundation of how we can stop the virus spreading, have been reviewed."
Premier Daniel Andrews has previously said international flights will not return to Melbourne until the state's hotel quarantine inquiry hands down its report in November.
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