Two hotel quarantine sites in Melbourne will transform into “medi-hotels” to relieve pressure on Victoria’s hospitals as COVID patient numbers continue to rise to nearly 1000.
Two hospitals will initially work to transfer COVID patients who are nearing the end of their stay to the medi-hotels, located in the CBD and Epping, where they will still be under the care of the hospital staff.
The hotel sites will remain under the overall management of government agency COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, which continues to also manage accommodation for unvaccinated arrivals and people unable to self-isolate.
CQV commissioner Emma Cassar told a press conference on Friday that public servants at the agency had initiated the idea after seeing an opportunity to take pressure off hospitals.
“Two of our deputy state controllers led this idea and spoke to me about it. We spoke to Health and offered it up, and it was quickly taken up with our two health partners,” Cassar said.
The partner hospitals will initially be Melbourne Health and Northern Health and the sites have capacity to accomodate 300 patients.
Patients in the hospital will receive 24-seven support in hotels that have undergone assessment of their airflow and ventilation systems, and be staffed by teams who are experts in infection control and prevention.
It came as the number of people in Victorian hospitals with COVID-19 increased from 953 to 976 on Friday.
Deputy premier James Merlino said the arrangement, similar to patients receiving care at home, would alleviate pressure on hospitals.
“They will remain under the care of the hospital, and still be considered an inpatient even while they are in the medi-hotel,” he said.
Cassar also revealed the state’s $200 million Mickleham quarantine facility was expected to open in mid-to-late February.
“We are very much on track to take exclusive access of the accommodation sites and the essential buildings we need at the end of January. Then we will have a short commissioning period on top of that,” she said.