Medi-hotels being created as Victoria records 34,836 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths

Two medihotels are being set up in Melbourne to ease pressure on hospitals as Victoria recorded 34,836 new COVID-19[female[feminine cases today and 18 deaths.

The number of infected patients requiring treatment has also increased, with 976 people currently being cared for in hospitals. Of these, 112 are in intensive care, while 30 require ventilation.

There are now some 230,000 active cases of the virus in Victoria.

Victoria’s acting Minister of Health, James Merlino, has announced that two quarantine hotels in Melbourne will be converted into medihotels in “a sensible next step” to help healthcare workers treat cases of COVID-19.

Merlino said COVID-19 patients who needed less complex care would be transported from hospitals to medihotels.

“All patients will be medically assessed by the hospital prior to transfer,” he said.

The first patients will be transferred to medihotels from Monday.

The medihotels will have the capacity to provide care for over 300 patients at a time in partnership with Northern Health and Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The Pullman Melbourne on Swanston Street and the Mantra Epping will be used as medihotels.

The Pullman hotel in Melbourne will become a medi-hotel. (Getty)
People queue for a COVID-19 test on Bourke Street in Melbourne.
Isolation rules have been eased for critical industry workers in Victoria. (Chris Hopkins)

Premier Daniel Andrews announced yesterday that the emergency services, education, essential public services, child care facilities and transportation and freight sectors would join the food production and distribution industries in exempting essential workers in isolation for seven days starting next Tuesday.

“These sectors will join the broader food sector,” Mr Andrews said.

“They will be exempted if they play a critical role, from having to self-isolate at home.

“They will have to have a good test for five days and if it is negative they can continue to do this critical work.”

COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar warned that the relaxed isolation rules were not an “open crust” for all workers in these sectors to dodge isolation, with only those performing a critical job function being allowed to go to work.

“They have to be treated very carefully,” he said.

“From the Omicron wave, we know that about a quarter or half of close contacts will eventually become infected.”

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The state recorded 37,169 new COVID-19[female[feminine cases yesterday and 25 deaths.

Booster shots could also be made mandatory for other industries, as additional vaccine supplies are rolled out.

Mr Andrews said a supply of booster shots will be given to Woolworths and Coles so they can set up booster clinics to help get staff vaccinated.

“We will provide them with the supply and they will most likely hire a private supplier to administer the vaccine,” he said.

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