An experienced intensive care nurse has warned a growing number of younger people are catching coronavirus as the state battles the deadly outbreak.
Michelle Spence is the head ICU nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and said Victoria’s medical community was preparing for the possibility of deaths among the state’s younger population.
‘What we are seeing now is young people who are going to die. There is no doubt about it … these are people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, who have no past history,’ Ms Spence told the ABC.
Michelle Spence (pictured with partner) is the head ICU nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and said Victoria’s medical community was preparing for the possibility of deaths among the state’s younger population
The Royal Melbourne Hospital has acquired 22 additional ventilators as doctors prepare for an influx of severe cases of the disease (pictured: Hospital staff assist people waiting in line to be screened for COVID-19 outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital)
Health Department figures show that as of Friday 39 people under 60-years-old were being treated for COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals.
This is about 20 per cent of the state’s coronavirus cases and includes five people in their 20s and 30s in the intensive care unit and one child with the virus.
‘We’re definitely not just seeing the elderly, that is not the case at all,’ Ms Spence said.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital has acquired 22 additional ventilators as doctors prepare for an influx of severe cases of the disease.
Ms Spence said that little was known about how long the recovery process takes and whether there are any lingering effects from the virus even after leaving hospital.
She urged young people to wear masks and acknowledged while they might be inconvenient, they were ‘way more comfortable than being on a ventilator’.
On Thursday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there was a growing number of younger people contracting COVID-19 in Melbourne’s second wave.
‘It would be wrong to assume that young people are somehow more immune to this,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘There are a lot of young people who have died of this in other parts of the world,’ he said.
His government ordered residents of Australia’s second-biggest city to wear masks when they venture out in public with fines of $200 for those who flout the rule from Thursday.
The state recorded 300 new coronavirus cases and a record six deaths on Friday – a dip from a record peak of 484 cases on Wednesday, but Melbourne’s 19th consecutive day of triple-digit rises.
The greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire areas are two weeks into a six week lockdown imposed to gain control over the outbreak.
A young child and man wearing masks are seen riding a bicycle and scooter respectively in Southbank on July 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Face masks or face coverings are now mandatory for anyone leaving their homes in the Melbourne metropolitan area or the Mitchell Shire
A woman is seen wearing mask in Melbourne, Friday, July 24, 2020
Ms Spence urged young people to wear masks and acknowledged while they might be inconvenient, they were ‘way more comfortable than being on a ventilator’
Mr Andrews said the restrictions had helped stabilise infection numbers, but the next step was driving them down.
His government revealed earlier this week about 90 per cent of those who developed symptoms were continuing to move about the community.
He urged all Victorians to follow the rules by wearing the masks and limiting social gatherings.
His government has also introduced a $300 payment so those workers in casual jobs, usually on the frontline in dealing with the public such as supermarket and hospitality workers, can take leave to self-isolate.
‘If you want this to be over, if you want to get to the other side of it and find that COVID normal … and be able to go and have a beer, or go and have a meal with a friend and be able to move around the community much more freely than you can now, you’ve got to follow the rules.’
A female jogger is seen running wearing a mask on July 24, 2020 in Melbourne
Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19 cases, the numbers have dropped in recent days but are still in the triple digits
VICTORIA’S COVID-19 NUMBERS
AS OF JULY 24:
* 300 new cases, and the 19th consecutive day of a triple-digit increase
* 3734 active cases across the state
* Seven more deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 56 and the national figure to 140
* Five of Friday’s deaths are connected to aged care. Most deaths in a day for any state
* Four of the latest victims are in their 80s and three are in their 90s
* 206 people in hospital and with 41 in intensive care
* 24,109 tests conducted on Thursday
* Of the new cases, 51 are connected to known outbreaks and 249 are under investigation.
CLUSTERS TO WATCH:
* 296 cases linked to residents of public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington (increase of three since Thursday)
* 61 cases linked to public housing towers in Carlton (increase of 1)
* 182 cases linked to Al-Taqwa College
* 57 cases linked to Bertocchi Smallgoods in Thomastown (increase of 47)
* 43 cases linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac (increase of 14)
* 74 cases have been linked to Somerville Retail Services in Tottenham (increase of 2)
* 73 at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner (no increase)
* 37 cases linked to Arcare Aged Care in Craigieburn (increase of 4)
* 68 linked to Estia Health in Ardeer (increase of 1)
* 35 cases have been linked to Estia Health in Heidelberg (increase of 1)
* 44 linked to Glendale Aged care facility in Werribee
* 20 cases linked to Regis Aged Care in Brighton
* 62 cases linked to JBS in Brooklyn (increase of 4)
* 11 cases linked to Respite Services Australia in Moonee Ponds
* 9 cases linked to AMSSA in North Melbourne
* 6 cases linked to the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre
* New aged care cases linked to: Outlook Gardens in Dandenong North, BlueCross Riverlea in Avondale Heights, St Bernadette’s Aged Care Residence in Sunshine North, Fronditha Care in St Albans and Japara Yarra West in Yarraville
* New education cases linked to: Nino Early Learning in Bundoora, Impact English College in the CBD and Tarneit Senior College
HOSPITALISATIONS BY AGE (AS AT JULY 24):
* Two people aged between five and 19
* Five people aged between 20 and 29, one in ICU
* Seven people aged between 30 and 39, four in ICU
* 11 people aged between 40 and 49, four in ICU
*14 people aged between 50 and 59, 10 in ICU
* 19 people aged between 60 and 69, 13 in ICU
* 30 people aged between 70 and 79, seven in ICU
* 55 people aged between 80 and 89, two in ICU
* 22 people are 90 and above