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► WHO SHOULD BE EVACUATED? Most mass evacuations end with the same decision, according to the Federal Health Minister. Andrew Giles said, “There are thousands of people affected and to be fair, the authorities have responded well.” ■ WHY HAS A HOMEWORK FOUND A GRAPHIC CAUSE FOR THE EVACUATION OF SYMPTOMS? Most doctors’ offices are outside Melbourne’s CBD at the moment, and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) says hospitals are less prepared to deal with an extended stay because of work constraints. But AWH’s chief executive Alex Wodak, who attended one of the conference organisers’ Facebook Live chat, said doctors had been working “within the limits” of the Victorian law to ensure their staff was well resourced and cared for.
► WHY DID MEETING CALL GO SO WELL? Tom Brown, who last year helped a girl live through an extreme form of the coronavirus, says the family of those infected have been given huge amounts of compassionate support. “We were treated like a family by the hospital, with support staff on the front line, and after speaking to the nurse who dealt with her back in 2016, it felt like it was a set up for us not to die.” Michael Blanch, 16, who was orphaned, said that while he had suffered from an infection that had compromised his joints, he felt “overwhelmed” by medical support. “There was not enough support from anyone.” James Shepard, 13, he attended university with his parent this year, but during the evacuation he underwent surgery to reattach part of his tongue. But he said it had taken four months and what with the early end of the emergency evacuation, his parents believed they were finally safe. “There were times when there was a joke about how it was the most painful thing they had experienced in their lives, and then come out later and find the jokes laughable,” he said.
► CHOPPING BACK TIME: Local health leaders said on Friday the success of the rescues from the deadly outbreak in eastern Victoria could result in more voluntary curfews, and mean more carers are allowed to visit sick family members. Melbourne City Mayor Mark Holmesa was among regional leaders and healthcare workers who issued a statement on Friday calling for local councils to take all the steps necessary to help reduce the risk of a repeat outbreak in the state. “Councils must step up their efforts to remove family homes from affected areas, and adopt a range of measures, including a mandatory curfew, to be able to ensure health care services and provision are as resilient as possible,” the statement said. ■ ARE WE CLEAN, SAVE MELBOURNE? While the Victorian government has maintained the first declared overreach from the confluence of the Great Lakes and the Murray-Darling, the Federal Government has been taking a different tack. Now Australia’s health authorities are telling Victorian hospitals that they must stop all direct contact with emergency department patients. The warning is in a notice to health facilities on Friday, and comes less than 24 hours after Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt approved a new proposed chain of higher-risk health facilities. … Meanwhile Victoria Health is in talks with consultants who have been working with Victorians to identify how patients and clinicians can better address potential exposure at the five health facilities — St Vincent’s Medical Centre, CLIC Sargent, Western Gippsland, St Charles Ambulance and St Vincent’s Health — currently under investigation.
► FINALLY, A VICTORIAN SUN-RIGHT: And finally, a view from the shores of the Murray-Darling, as the water bureau said it would ramp up projects to restore and expand the river system once it released its latest assessment. The bureau’s water report this week says the Victorian system was improving across all categories, although the decline of groundwater levels was most evident on Dandenong West, where there are concerns about Lake Dandenong. Professor Jeff Hollender, the bureau’s water services director, said the next phase of Victoria’s post-Convention policy review would look at the impact of the basin into the future. But he said: “One of the critical roles of ensuring the health of our environment, water supply and recreation in the Murray-Darling Basin is making sure there is effective and sustainable distribution of groundwater that is safe, clean and efficient.”