Aerosol-based medical device believed to have caused an outbreak at the Holiday Inn airport hotel that has closed for cleaning and guests have moved

An aerosol-based medical device commonly used by asthmatics is believed to have caused the coronavirus cluster at the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel in Melbourne, which has been closed for a thorough cleaning

Returning travelers who stayed at the airport’s quarantine hotel will be relocated after a guest who ended their two-week stay and a food and beverage employee tested positive for Covid on Tuesday

The Victorian Head of Health, Prof Brett Sutton said the “working hypothesis” for spreading Covid-19 in the hotel was a nebulizer that was used by an infected resident for several days in early February

“It vaporizes drugs or liquids into a fine mist Especially if it’s used as a medication and someone is contagious or later tests positive, this viral mist can get suspended in the air, “he said

Sutton said these tiny particles stay in the air for a few minutes and can travel several meters

“We believe the exposures are related to this event. The virus was transmitted into the corridor and exposed the authorized officer, the food and beverage service employee and also the other residents, which makes geographical sense and makes sense in terms of exposure time ”

The epidemiologist Prof Hassan Vally said a nebulizer most likely increased the risk of airborne transmission

“Another word for a nebulizer would be an aerosolizer,” Vally said. “This is a big piece of the puzzle when you’ve seen a transmission that you can’t explain and you discover someone was using a nebulizer this is a pretty strong theory ”

The risk of the devices has been known since the pandemic began a year ago Doctors have been warned not to use nebulizers outside of infection-controlled hospital settings

Protecting against air transfer – like increasing airflow or having guests open windows – may reduce risk in other instances, however, according to Vally, the incident at the Holiday Inn was “such a unique situation” that these measures may not help have

The news comes when vaccine experts told the National Press Club that Australia would release 170000 people a day would have to vaccinate to achieve 80% population coverage. Even if that were achieved, social distancing measures and the hotel quarantine program would still be necessary

“I keep reminding you that we have to support our quarantine program,” said Prof Mary Louise McLaws to the press club “It can’t be great, it has to be the best and we have to take a national best-practice approach”

The additional Victorian cases were announced Tuesday evening by Health Secretary Martin Foley, bringing the number of locally acquired cases related to the Holiday Inn cluster to three

The worker who delivered food to the rooms was on her last shift on April 4th Tested negative on February 6th She developed symptoms on February 8 and On February 25th, she was told that she was in close contact with the previously infected worker at the Holiday Inn.She tested positive on Tuesday just hours after the diagnosis of a guest who had completed her 14-day quarantine at the hotel on Saturday

The food and beverage worker visited several sites in Sunbury that have since been declared exposure sites The contacts should be isolated for 14 days

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said the positive ex-guest “basically stayed home” while contagious and therefore had only close household contacts

Andrews confirmed that the person using the nebulizer was admitted to the intensive care unit and “was essentially fighting for their life”

The woman who tested positive on Tuesday is believed to have lived in the room directly across from Sutton, saying the aerosolization of the virus could mean everyone on that floor was exposed during the relevant period

Anyone who had completed the hotel quarantine on this floor had previously been contacted and asked to self-isolate for an additional 14 days January and 9th Have spent at least 15 minutes at the hotel in February

“So the exposure was on one or more of these days for positive cases … we’re going to the 27th January back as there were positive cases in the hotel at the time or potentially infectious cases until yesterday ”

The medical devices should not be placed in quarantine hotels, raising questions about why the infected person is allowed to bring their personal nebulizer

“Let’s not be critical of someone in intensive care, I’m sure they didn’t think they did the wrong thing, but we’re taking extra steps to make sure these machines are not in the hotel and therefore cannot be used, ”he said

“This was a personal machine, it travels with the person, and in my opinion that will be related to this underlying disease, whether it is asthma or something similar”

The Victorian government will now move all travelers who are quarantined in the airport hotel so that a “deep cleaning to the highest standards” can be carried out on all floors and rooms

After the move, all guests must quarantine for at least three more days, regardless of whether they wanted to leave beforehand

“It can be the full 14, but at this point it will be at least three days and then tested,” said Andrews

Andrews confirmed on Wednesday that Victoria will not continue the planned increase in international arrivals until more is known about the situation

“The Prime Minister has been informed that we believe it is appropriate to have very little or possibly no risk tolerance, especially risks that you do not fully understand,” he said

Victoria’s Corrector Emma Cassar said that additional precautions are now being taken to ensure travelers are aware of the nebulizer ban and that those checking travelers’ luggage know how aerosol generating medicinal products are Devices look like

“What we’ve been doing since then is asking people at the airport when they’re going to get through We expect to see signage with diagrams of what a nebulizer looks like, what a C-Pap [sleep apnea machine] looks like and what other aerosol generating devices look like so we can stay one step ahead, ”she said

“From today we are also implementing a nurse who accompanies the border forces during the baggage check, so that we can actually recognize these things passing through and have a higher level of security”

Cassar said the government had convened a group of experts to discuss whether N95 masks should be mandatory for all hotel quarantine workers.The masks are more difficult to wear properly but offer increased protection against aerosols

“Basically, the expert advice is that if you use N95 and don’t go through the rigorous [fitting process], just like hospital settings and elderly care with fit tests and exams, you can actually put more people at risk,” said they

According to Vally, it was “obvious and easy” to make employees wear N95 masks He said, however, that the procedures already in place should protect against new variations – provided that they will meet the highest standards

“The same things we did will work,” he said, “Maybe we need to do them a little better, but it’s the same virus, it’s just a little bit more spreadable”

In total, there were five cases of apparent transmission in the hotel quarantine system within seven days, including staff and guests

Nebuliser, Sunbury

World news – AU – Quarantine hotel in Melbourne Covid cluster is believed to be caused by nebulizers, experts say