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Melbourne's The Alfred hospital accused of being a 'breeding ground' for coronavirus

The Alfred hospital in Melbourne has been described as a 'breeding ground' for coronavirus after eight staff members tested positive, forcing hundreds more into self isolation.  

As Victoria continues to battle outbreaks of the deadly virus, Daily Mail Australia can reveal allegations The Alfred has failed to maintain cleanliness throughout the pandemic.

In March, three cancer patients died after contracting COVID-19 at The Alfred, after a patient admitted with a different medical condition turned out to be carrying the virus. 

A filthy bucket on the floor of a ward within The Alfred. Patients have claimed their families have been forced to clean rooms themselves 

Filthy, stained floors at a ward inside The Alfred. Staff and patients have accused the hospital of failing to maintain cleanliness 

Rubbish and grime on the floors within The Alfred, which has suffered from another outbreak among staff 

The Alfred refused to comment on the latest allegations put to it by Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday. 

Instead, it referred back to a statement made by The Alfred's Chief Executive Professor Andrew Way last weekend. 

'Alfred Health, and our community, appreciate the work staff are doing to care for patients with COVID-19, and we take every measure to keep them safe,' Professor Way said.

He said the hospital was following rigorous cleaning processes to ensure the safety of all staff and patients. 

'As a community we must take collective responsibility for ourselves and others. We need everyone to follow the stringent protocols in place; they are there to keep us safe,' Professor Way said.

'We cannot afford to become complacent. And as this pandemic demonstrates - behaviour really matters.' 

Daily Mail Australia has spoken to recent patients and a doctor about hygiene within The Alfred. 

One patient, who spent about eight months inside the hospital up until June this year, told Daily Mail Australia the hospital was filthy. 

'It's a breeding ground for not only coronavirus, but any virus,' the man said. 

Photos provided to Daily Mail Australia show floors covered in grime, hair and dirt. 

One photo appears to show blood stained into the floor. 

So filthy was the man's ward that he claimed his family had to clean it themselves. 

A photograph shows a bucket containing filthy brown water left on a ward floor. 

Other photos show medical waste and cups tossed on ward floors. 

'The cleaners used to spend more time just standing about gas-bagging than cleaning,' the patient said. 

A doctor from a regional hospital, who has spent time with The Alfred, told Daily Mail Australia the lack of hygiene on display throughout the pandemic was 'disgusting'.

'It's really a disgrace,' she said. 

The Alfred has come under fire from within its own ranks as the hospital is again forced to explain how the virus continues to spread within its walls. 

Last week, The Age reported there were serious concerns about infection control in the infectious diseases ward.

Photographs taken inside the restricted area showed rubbish bins overflowing with contaminated clinical waste including discarded medical gowns and other personal protective equipment. 

A view of the COVID-19 Clinic at the Alfred Hospital on March 26. It did not reveal it had an outbreak until the following evening

Eight staff at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne have tested positive to coronavirus , forcing hundreds more into self isolation

'I had to touch the bin lid with my hands to get PPE off," the worker said. 'It's disgusting and dangerous,' a worker said. 

Contact tracers are still trying to determine how many other staff at The Alfred may have come into contact with the infected staff members.

Five of the staff who have been diagnosed are not believed to be linked. Initial testing suggests they acquired the virus in the community. 

The three other coronavirus cases were picked up through contact tracing and immediately asked to self-isolate. 

Currently, no patients have contracted COVID-19 within the hospital, a spokesman confirmed.

The Alfred has not confirmed the roles of the staff members who have tested positive.

The Alfred is not the only hospital struggling to contain an outbreak in Melbourne.

The Austin hospital, northeast of Melbourne, confirmed on Sunday one non-clinical staff member from a mental health inpatient unit had tested positive for COVID-19. 

The staff member worked the weekend prior to their diagnosis, and all patients and staff they came into contact with were subsequently tested.

A spokesman said all precautionary tests returned a negative result.  

'The area has undergone a deep clean and continues to care for patients with staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment in line with DHHS guidelines,' the spokesman said.

DHHS has been contacted for comment.

The Alfred has been accused of failing to maintain hygiene. Pictured is a floor stained with filth 

The infectious diseases ward at The Alfred (pictured), which is currently housing COVID-19 cases, has been effectively locked down in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus

A filthy floor within The Alfred hospital, which is working to contain an outbreak among its own staff 

Meanwhile, The Alfred's infectious diseases ward, which is currently housing COVID-19 cases, has been effectively locked down in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.

Anybody entering the ward must register their details with a concierge to ensure they can track their movements. 

A hospital spokesman said any staff member who had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 would be immediately sent for testing and suspended from duties.

They are also housing staff with vulnerable family members in hotels to ensure they are not putting anybody at risk.  

Australia's total coronavirus cases approached 10,000 on Monday, with only Victoria and New South Wales regularly showing new cases of community transmission.

The Alfred hospital chief executive Prof Andrew Way. The hospital has been hot with a deadly outbreak of COVID-19

A medical worker is pictured performing a COVID-19 test as Melbourne re-enters stage three lockdown restrictions

Shoppers in Melbourne are pictured wearing facemasks as testing in the metropolitan are ramps up 

Of the 9980 Australians who have had coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, 7769 have recovered, 1661 are sick right now while 108 have died.

Victoria's second wave has brought 1612 active cases - more than 97 per cent of all the active cases in Australia, and 641 of them are from community transmission, the state's Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday.

Victoria recorded 270 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, taking the state’s total to more than 4200. 

About 1000 Australian Defence Force personnel are heading to Victoria to help enforce the state's lockdown and testing.

There are just four reasons people living in locked down suburbs should leave their homes.

Those reasons are: 

MELBOURNE'S SECOND LOCKDOWN

AREAS BACK UNDER STAGE THREE RESTRICTIONS:

* Metropolitan Melbourne covering 30 Local Government Areas - Banyule, Hume, Moreland, Bayside, Kingston, Mornington Peninsula, Boroondara, Knox, Nillumbik, Manningham, Port Phillip, Cardinia, Maribyrnong, Stonnington, Casey, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Darebin, Melbourne, Whittlesea, Frankston, Melton, Wyndham, Glen Eira, Monash, Yarra, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley, Yarra Ranges, Hobsons Bay.

* Mitchell Shire which includes the towns of Broadford, Kilmore, Seymour, Tallarook, Pyalong and Wallan.

WHAT WILL CLOSE AGAIN:

* Community sport

* Indoor sports and recreation including arenas and stadiums

* Swimming pools, saunas and bathhouses

* Food courts

* Indoor and outdoor cinemas

* Casino and gaming

* Brothels and strip clubs

* Beauty and personal care services

* Holiday accommodation and camping

* Play centres and playgrounds

* Galleries, museums and zoos

VISTORS AND PUBLIC GATHERINGS:

* No visitors allowed in homes

* Public gatherings and exercise can only be with immediate household or two people

ALLOWED OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES:

* Fishing and boating

* Tennis, golf and surfing

OPEN FOR BUSINESS:

* Retail subject to density

* Markets for food and drink only

* Hairdressers

HOSPITALITY:

* Cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs and bars return to takeaway only

REAL ESTATE:

* Return to remote auctions

* Inspections by appointment only

INTIMATE PARTNERS:

* Visits allowed

SECOND PLACE OF RESIDENCE:

* No visits outside the restricted areas - subject to conditions

HOLIDAYS:

* Can be completed by those already on holiday

* No new holiday travel from 11.59pm on July 8

FUNERALS:

* Ten people, plus those conducting the funeral

WEDDINGS:

* Five people (couple, witnesses and celebrant)

RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES:

* Broadcast only.

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