Vic hotel quarantine case taken to ICU

A second Victorian hotel quarantine worker who tested positive to coronavirus has the highly-infectious UK strain.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday morning that genomic testing had confirmed the woman has the UK variant.

A person in Victorian hotel quarantine in Victoria also has been transferred to intensive care.

The premier said the person was a returned traveller, not a community case.

According to the Department of Health, the last time Victoria had an active virus case in intensive care was October 10.

Victoria has launched a testing blitz of Melbourne’s northwest after the woman’s infection was discovered on Sunday. It was second case involving a hotel worker in less than a week.

Victoria on Tuesday reported no new local or international infections. There are 15 active cases in the state following 12,816 tests.

But the test results from the woman’s close contacts and work contacts are yet to be confirmed.

The woman in her early 50s, who worked at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport, had eight primary social contacts, such as family and friends, and 136 work contacts.

The work contacts of the Holiday Inn worker include 12 Australian Defence Force members and nine police officers.

All those contacts are isolating.

The Victorian government will also make testing compulsory for hotel quarantine workers on their days off as a result of the two positive cases.

Mr Andrews expects the new testing rules for workers will be in place by the end of the week, but he doubts they will be necessary.

He is confident hotel workers will go for testing on their days off without being told to do so, saying making it mandatory is “a backstop”.

“The view of the workforce is that it’s a smart thing to do,” he said.

“It’s not mandatory yet – it will be … I don’t think it will come to that.”

The premier said there was no obvious reason for the latest infection, adding there was a “working theory and very significant concerns” about aerosol transmission.

Also, community testing capacity has been increased near possible exposure sites including a bottle shop, cake shop and clothing store.

New pop-up testing centres have appeared in Brighton and Clayton, while opening hours have been extended at eight other sites.

The woman’s case comes after a hotel quarantine worker at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt hotel tested positive for the infectious UK strain on February 3.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton tested negative on Monday after reporting a runny nose, sore throat and headache.

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