National

Vic takes over COVID-19 aged care homes

By AAP Newswire

The Victorian government has assumed control of three aged care facilities in Melbourne's west to stem growing COVID-19 outbreaks.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Thursday the state's hospital staff were operating Glenlyn Aged Care, Florence Aged Care and Klyna Aged Care facilities.

"We've essentially assumed responsibility, taken over those facilities, for the purposes of the highest-quality care and to deal with challenging circumstances in each of those three," he told reporters.

"(They are) by no means the first, they are just the latest that we've stepped in to take control of."

The premier said some 1400 shifts at aged care facilities across the state have already been covered by hospital staff, including nurses.

More than 400 aged care residents have also been transferred to hospital, including 14 this week.

Mr Andrews said the decision to move residents was based on individual needs, not the requests of some operators, including one that had attempted to order 100 ambulances.

"We don't have a system that is designed to deliver the easiest outcome for the private operator," he said.

"We have a system that is designed to provide the best care for the resident. That is what will always guide us."

Glenlyn Aged Care and Florence Aged Care are privately operated, while Klyna Aged Care is a not-for-profit facility catering to the Ukrainian community.

Victoria recorded 278 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's death toll from the virus to 275 and the national figure to 361.

Mr Andrews said a woman in her 50s, two men in their 70s, two women and two men in their 80s, and one man in his 90s had died.

Four of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities.

There are now 2018 active cases across 125 facilities, out of a total of 7866 active cases in the state.

Some 664 Victorians are battling the virus in hospital, including 37 in intensive care, with 25 on ventilators.

The state's second wave of the virus has been traced back to security guards, who contracted COVID-19 from returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

The program was put on hold in June but is expected to resume.

"It's safe to assume in the months ahead, right into next year, there will be significant numbers of people who want to return home," Mr Andrews said.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has been removed from some quarantine and isolation responsibilities, replaced by Attorney-General Jill Hennessy.

Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the move was like "shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic".

The premier also rebuffed a report published by The Age on Thursday, which claims the state government rejected an offer of 100 Australian Defence Force personnel to assist with hotel quarantine.

"I've got no idea who's made those claims so I won't make any judgment on their accuracy or otherwise," Mr Andrews said.

"If people want to make claims then they probably need to put their name to it, I would have thought."

Thursday marks the lowest number of new cases since July 20, when the state recorded 275 cases.

But Mr Andrews said the state had a "long, long way to go" before stage four restrictions could be rolled back.

"One day is not enough, a week is not enough, for us to be able to pretend that we can forecast what's going to happen in a fortnight," Mr Andrews said.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt was cautiously optimistic.

"We now believe, cautiously, that we have early signs of the flattening of the curve in Victoria," he said.