By Jackson Russell
Six Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed to The Kilmore and District Hospital to assist the hospital’s COVID-19 testing clinic.
The personnel arrived at the hospital last week and are supporting the clinic with oversight from hospital staff.
Chief executive Sue Race said staffing at the hospital was a constant challenge.
“We were finding we were stretched pretty thin in terms of our staff and people themselves are coming in with winter coughs and colds,” she said.
“We have staff that work at some metro hospitals that have had outbreaks and have been required to go into isolation which affects our staffing as well.
“We really appreciate their support and they’ve got considerable expertise and are helping us refine our processes and we welcome that.”
The support comes as an additional 1000 ADF personnel have been deployed across Victoria to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADF personnel have also been deployed to support contract tracing, community engagement, paramedic response and police checkpoints, among other roles.
The current contingent of more than 400 personnel will remain in Victoria for at least the duration of stage three restrictions with additional personnel deployed over the coming days.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Federal Government would continue to work with Victoria to support the state’s response to the virus.
“Our highly trained ADF personnel will work alongside state authorities to surge support for Victoria to ensure they get the backing they need to help respond to the situation. This is a serious situation facing not just Victoria, but the whole country,” he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews thanked the Federal Government and other states for their continued support and collaboration to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
“This is a public health bushfire – just as we help out other states in summer, help is coming from across the nation now, including Australian Defence Force personnel in addition to the strong support provided over recent months – and we are grateful for that,” he said.
“As all Victorians work together to follow the rules they should be assured we have a massive team working around the clock to keep every Victorian family safe.”