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Baby dies at Geelong Hospital as virus-induced health crisis continues

A one-year-old has died in the emergency department of a regional Victorian hospital as staffing shortages continue to mar the sector across the state.

The tragedy took place at University Hospital Geelong on Monday with the infant’s death to be investigated by the Coroner.

Dr Simon Woods, Chief Medical Officer, Barwon Health said it was a “difficult time for all concerned”.

“Barwon Health extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to the child’s family and loved ones,” he said in a statement.

“We will review the child’s death in detail and assist the Coroner as required.

“It is inappropriate to speculate on the circumstances of the death at this time.”

Ambulances Ramping at Geelong Hospital
Camera IconAn infant passed away at University Hospital Geelong on Monday. Alan Barber Credit: News Corp Australia

The hospital’s emergency department director Dr Belinda Hibble also pointed to staffing shortages putting extra strain on the sector.

“Workforce shortages are the key challenges for Barwon Health with significant levels of sick leave due to Covid and influenza like illnesses,” she said.

“The significant increase in Covid and flu cases across the community means more people are seeking care including in the Emergency Department and some people requiring admission to hospital.”

The child’s death comes as Victoria, and its healthcare workers, continue to battle through thousands of daily Covid cases.

There were 9676 new infections recorded on Thursday and nine Victorians died with the virus.

The state now hosts 52,786 active cases and there are 629 people hospitalised with the virus including 37 in intensive care.

It comes after newly-minted Health Minister Mary Anne Thomas refused to rule out potential new restrictions on Thursday,

“No decisions have been taken,” she told reporters.

“The public health team are looking at modelling and they’re consulting with their colleagues and various ideas are floated but no ideas have been taken.

“The new pandemic declaration enables me to make that decision but I have not yet made it, and I’m continuing my consultation.”

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