Australian health official announces surveillance into COVID-19 spread among healthcare workers

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CANBERRA, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) — An expansion of national surveillance of healthcare worker infection has been endorsed to ensure a better understanding of COVID-19 among healthcare workers in Australia.

As of Thursday afternoon there had been 26,513 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 59.

Of the new cases, Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, confirmed 51, taking the state’s total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 19,728.

About 17 percent of those cases were healthcare workers and there are 251 active cases among them in the state, according to the figures from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Thursday.

Victoria also confirmed seven more deaths on Thursday. It takes the national death toll to 788 and Victoria’s to 701.

Nick Coatsworth, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said on Wednesday that the healthcare workers deserve the best protection.

“Over 3,300 healthcare and residential aged care workers becoming infected is not an acceptable figure,” he said.

“And it’s incumbent on all of us to do what we can to understand more about the nature of those infections, so we can protect our healthcare workers during this pandemic.”

He announced that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has endorsed an expansion of national healthcare worker surveillance in the national notifiable diseases system.

“And that’s going to be critical to be able to help states and territories target their interventions and work out where deep dive investigations need to take place.” Enditem

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