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Melbourne nurse urges people to follow coronavirus health orders as pandemic spikes in Victoria

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An emergency nurse has begged the public to keep up efforts against COVID-19 while sharing details of the exhaustion she and her colleagues experience each day.

Abbey, a clinical nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, filmed a video while decked out in her personal protective equipment to shed light on the current conditions in the Victorian health system.

State Premier Daniel Andrews described the video as the single most important thing for Australians to watch on Thursday. 

With at least 40 patients requiring ventilators in coronavirus stricken intensive care units and a further 201 people hospitalised with the virus, medical staff have been run off their feet during Victoria’s second COVID-19 outbreak.

Abbey explained how the virus has essentially ‘taken this job I love and morphed it into this complicated, sometimes exhausting, constantly evolving daily battle’.

The additional 403 cases reportedly announced on Thursday is third-worst for the state -behind only the totals announced on Wednesday and July 17

The additional 403 cases reportedly announced on Thursday is third-worst for the state -behind only the totals announced on Wednesday and July 17 

‘My colleagues are working overtime, covered head-to-toe in PPE, which leaves us dehydrated, often sweating, covered in pressure sores from where it rubs into our face,’ she said.

‘This is all day, every day.’

Abbey said her entire department has transformed into a ‘COVID specific workplace’, while staff had adapted to care for critically unwell patients while also putting themselves on the front line each and every day.

‘The entire way we practice emergency medicine and nursing has changed – entirely due to COVID-19.  

The nurse said she is ‘in awe’ of her colleagues after watching them ‘sacrifice every piece of themselves in the fight against this pandemic… with integrity, strength and grace’. 

She urged Australians – particularly those living in locked down suburbs within Melbourne – to follow health directives.

Abbey, a clinical nurse specialist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, filmed a video while decked out in her personal protective equipment to shed light on the current conditions in the Victorian health system

Abbey, a clinical nurse specialist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, filmed a video while decked out in her personal protective equipment to shed light on the current conditions in the Victorian health system

Royal Melbourne Hospital this week received an order of an additional 22 ventilators to add to bolster its intensive care units, which already have 42 beds

Royal Melbourne Hospital this week received an order of an additional 22 ventilators to add to bolster its intensive care units, which already have 42 beds

People line up outside the Royal Melbourne Hosital for coronavirus testing

People line up outside the Royal Melbourne Hosital for coronavirus testing

‘Your temporary but greatly appreciated sacrifice means you, and my colleagues and I will eventually see the light at the end of this very long road,’ Abbey said. 

‘We collectively may see the end of this pandemic. So please, for the last time, stay home, wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance yourselves and follow the restrictions.’ 

From Thursday, Victorians in locked-down areas of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire have been required cover their faces when they leave the house or risk a $200 fine. 

Royal Melbourne Hospital this week received an order of an additional 22 ventilators to bolster its intensive care units, which already have 42 beds. 

Hospitals in the state are preparing for an influx of new cases given hospital admissions appear to be about 10 days behind the diagnoses of new cases. 

RMH ICU nurse unit manager Michelle Spence said the new ventilators could be ready for use within 48 hours, and will protect nurses as well as save lives. 

‘We are ready and within 24 to 48 hours we could have those next 22 beds set up. It gives us the opportunity to start expanding our service and that has been the plan since March,’ she said. 

Medical workers and police are seen at a Government Commission tower in North Melbourne during lockdown

Medical workers and police are seen at a Government Commission tower in North Melbourne during lockdown

A nurse conducts a COVID-19 swab test as large crowds queue at Bondi Beach for drive-thru testing on Wednesday. Queensland has not ruled out extending its travel ban on Sydney's COVID-19 hotspots to the whole of the Harbour City

A nurse conducts a COVID-19 swab test as large crowds queue at Bondi Beach for drive-thru testing on Wednesday. Queensland has not ruled out extending its travel ban on Sydney’s COVID-19 hotspots to the whole of the Harbour City

The latest health directive was implemented in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19 as cases in the state continue to soar

The latest health directive was implemented in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19 as cases in the state continue to soar

‘The staff are definitely fatigued a little bit in life,’ she said. ‘But we are ready for this. We have been training and practising and getting staffing models since March. 

Most of the people brought into hospital with severe cases of COVID-19 are the elderly, but an increased amount of young people are catching the disease. 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data released on Thursday showed men were more likely to die from the virus than women, and the median age of death is 80. 

The institute analysed data from late January to late May, before the large scale outbreak in Victoria. 

Australians aged 20 to 29 had the highest number of infections, while people aged over 70 had the lowest.

Women aged between 20 to 29 and 60 to 69 were the most likely of females to be infected, while men aged 60 to 79 were the most likely of males.

People line up outside the Royal Melbourne Hosital for coronavirus testing at the height of the pandemic in March

People line up outside the Royal Melbourne Hosital for coronavirus testing at the height of the pandemic in March

Pictured: A map shows Sydney's coronavirus hotspot sites as the virus spreads throughout NSW

Pictured: A map shows Sydney’s coronavirus hotspot sites as the virus spreads throughout NSW

Police officers in protective masks enforce the state's mandatory mask order, which came into place overnight (pictured on Thursday morning)

Police officers in protective masks enforce the state’s mandatory mask order, which came into place overnight (pictured on Thursday morning)

And while the bulk of the infections were acquired overseas during the period studied, 98.8 per cent of cases diagnosed in the last week have been acquired locally. 

Authorities in New South Wales have not yet mandated the use of face masks, but have encouraged people to use them where possible. 

Dr Stephen Parnis earlier told A Current Affair the state could be heading in a similar direction to Victoria.

He said the virus could easily spiral out of control in Australia. 

‘It’s always the case that these things could spread,’ he said.

‘The concern is that NSW could now be where Melbourne was four, five, six weeks ago.’ 

Mr Andrews pictured addressing reporters on Thursday as he announced 403 new cases - a figure trailing only Wednesday's record figure of 484 cases

Mr Andrews pictured addressing reporters on Thursday as he announced 403 new cases – a figure trailing only Wednesday’s record figure of 484 cases

Victoria has recorded 403 new coronavirus cases, the third-highest figure for the state since the pandemic began (pictured, two women walking along Birrarung Marr in Melbourne on Thursday)

Victoria has recorded 403 new coronavirus cases, the third-highest figure for the state since the pandemic began (pictured, two women walking along Birrarung Marr in Melbourne on Thursday)

Victoria has recorded another 403 COVID-19 cases and five more deaths from the virus on Thursday – the state’s third-worst day for daily infections since the pandemic began.

A ‘significant number’ of new infections are in people in their 20s, with Premier Daniel Andrews issuing a grave warning about young people flouting social distancing rules.

Three of the deaths in the state over the past 24 hours were people who were in aged care – a woman in her 70s and men in their 80s and 90s – while four children are also in Victorian hospitals suffering from the virus.

Another of the state’s newest COVID-19 victims was a man aged in his 50s, Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday morning.

He said 334 of the new cases were under investigation and only 69 had been linked by authorities to known and contained outbreaks.

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