No Limit to Mikakos Incompetence

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    The story below in today's Herald Sun regarding the mismanagement of the corona virus outbreak in the Colac abbatoir says everything we need to know about the incompetence of Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.

    Did Mikakos learn nothing from the Cedar Meats fiasco three months earlier. Mikakos is simply not up to the task.

    Monty Python would be pround of this tale, unfortunately it is a true tale. Mikakos should resign.

    Colac abattoir workers’ quarantine blunder derailed regional Victoria’s coronavirus fight

    Critical days were lost in regional Victoria’s fight against COVID-19 when Colac abattoir workers were told they did not need to isolate after testing and instead hit pubs and supermarkets — potentially spreading coronavirus across the region.
    Tamsin Rose and Genevieve Alison, Herald Sun
    July 27, 2020 8:13am

    Critical days were lost in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 across regional Victoria when Colac abattoir workers were told they did not need to isolate while awaiting test results.
    Workers went to pubs, supermarkets and moved about the town for two days after being tested following a positive confirmed case at the lamb processor on Friday, July 17.
    At least 47 cases have since been linked to the outbreak, raising fears for the town outside the hard Melbourne lockdown.
    A flyer handed to workers on the Friday by testers from Colac Area Health, on the advice of DHHS, informed workers they did not need to isolate. They were not deemed close contacts.
    “It may take a few days for your test results to come back,” the flyer read.
    “You do not need to self-isolate while you wait for your results if you are feeling well.”
    But that advice was changed two days later by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton who reclassified all 750 workers as close contacts.

    Covid cases are surging in Colac. The military has helped to set up a testing facility at a local sports ground. Picture: Jay Town

    The main street of Colac on Sunday. Picture: Jay Town

    Staff then received a text that day updating them on the advice and telling them to self-isolate for 14 days.

    A relative of a meatworks employee said the town was on edge, waiting to see how far the virus had spread over those two days.
    “The messages, although that letter has been rectified, caused confusion and was misinformation,” the relative said.
    “People are terrified. Our whole community in the Colac Otway Shire are seriously jumpy.”
    The relative of a worker told the Herald Sun when staff were told at the start of their shifts on Friday, the day before the abattoir was closed for at least a fortnight, they were in “clusters” and were not social distancing.
    The Herald Sun believes workers completed their shifts that morning and were then sent home, before being called back later that day and the next for testing.

    “They were going home, mingling with housemates, going to the pub and supermarket,” a relative of a worker who wished to remain anonymous said. This was totally avoidable.”
    The Australian Lamb Company said all workers employed at the site had since been instructed to quarantine and the abattoir was working with health authorities.
    A DHHS spokesman said advice for workers changed once more cases were found.
    “Asymptomatic testing was taking place at the site when they had a small number of cases,” the spokesman said. “As more cases became evident the approach to testing changed, as is standard practice.
    “A local incident control centre has been set up to manage the outbreak. “
    Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said it was within the power of local health authorities to classify all workers at a worksite as close contacts.
    “In areas where there is more likely to have been transmission … the public health officials, if they deem it appropriate, will be more conservative with (the close contact) definition, so a shorter contact might be used to define someone who might need a test or need to isolate,” Dr Coatsworth said.

    Daniel Andrews said it was a “very significant outbreak”.
    “That particular workplace is a workplace-based outbreak and there’s a really concerted effort, a significant team of people working to support that business, its workforce, the local town and Colac Health,” the Premier said. “It’s a very significant challenge but one I think that we’re equal to.”
    The Colac blunder came three months after the Cedar Meats abattoir outbreak that infected 111 people, which Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said at the time was handled “perfectly” but Mr Sutton later conceded could have been managed better.
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