Hospitals

Spotless worker says coronavirus hotel quarantine contractors also took shifts at Alfred Health hospitals

A Spotless worker has described how contractors in COVID-19 ‘hot hotels’ were also working shifts at Melbourne’s Alfred Health hospitals, and cast doubt on the Government’s assertion the contractors were not working as security guards.

The employee, who spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity, said security staff were working at Alfred hospitals within days of shifts at the Novotel Hotel at South Wharf, which is housing people with coronavirus who cannot safely self-isolate.

He also said former bouncers with little experience were given jobs leading “security” teams in the quarantine facilities.

Spotless has been sub-contracted by Alfred Health to undertake “non-clinical” work at the hot hotels as an extension of its arrangement at the hospitals.

Both Spotless and Alfred Health insist the staff performing “floor monitoring roles” were not acting as security. The Government has said police officers, and not private security contractors, have been managing security at the hotels under the revamped program.

But the Spotless employee said: “Security was definitely working there — Spotless even recruited former pub and club bouncers who were out of work and didn’t have the required skill set to work in a hospital.

“One [staff member] at quarantine … didn’t know his way around a hospital let alone how it operates, in regard to infection control”.

Email, roster indicate workers moved between sites in August

Spotless has told the ABC it introduced a rule in late July requiring its staff to declare that they had not been working at any other facility within 14 days.

But in August, an email sent by a Spotless security supervisor — seen by the ABC — described two workers as coming back from the hotel program into “regular rostering”.

The Spotless employee told the ABC the two team members had been working in the

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Arizonans in nursing homes and hospitals can vote by video in some circumstances, judge rules

Election officials in Arizona can use videoconferencing to help some voters confined to hospitals, nursing homes or living with severe disabilities cast their ballots, a judge ruled Monday, rejecting calls to declare the new pandemic-era practice illegal.



a group of people standing in front of a sign: People wash their hands by the entrance to Sapphire of Tucson Nursing and Rehab on May 1, 2020.


© David Wallace/The Republic
People wash their hands by the entrance to Sapphire of Tucson Nursing and Rehab on May 1, 2020.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the court to strike down plans adopted by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office and Arizona Secretary of State’s Office for limited “virtual” voting assistance, arguing that state law does not allow anyone to cast a ballot by video.

Gov. Doug Ducey also opposed the policies, contending that state law requires officials provide such services in person.

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But in a ruling that reflected how unusual this election year is, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall H. Warner found that videoconferencing may be necessary for some voters with very particular circumstances who would otherwise have to choose between protecting themselves from COVID-19 or forgoing their right to participate in the electoral process.

“Federal law does not allow Arizona to impose on a disabled voter the choice between voting and protecting their health,” he wrote.

The judge warned, however, that his ruling “does not mean the County Recorder is free to use video voting whenever he wants or for any voter who asks.”

Still, Fontes declared victory.

“This is a win for accessibility,” the county recorder said in a statement. “We will continue to provide this option to the most vulnerable population of Maricopa County voters when necessary, ensuring compliance with all applicable law.”

A longstanding practice and COVID-19

The legal battle over the practice began in earnest last week but stems from

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Hospital’s takeover of 2 care homes praised, but questions linger

The decision to give The Ottawa Hospital oversight of two Ottawa long-term care homes is being praised by some connected to the homes — but there are also questions about why it didn’t happen sooner.

On Friday, Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term care announced that voluntary agreements had been signed with home operator Extendicare to help with the COVID-19 outbreaks at the West End Villa and Laurier Manor.

As of Saturday, there had been 85 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at West End Villa since Aug. 30, with 11 deaths.

Laurier Manor only has had 19 confirmed cases, but the home was hit hard in the spring, with more than 100 cases and 25 deaths.

“It’s about time that there was some kind of action,” said Melissa Acheson, whose long-time partner, Shawn Hill, has been living at West End Villa after suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2018.

Hill was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sept. 14, Acheson said, and so far only has mild symptoms.

Patients confined to rooms

In an email, a ministry spokesperson told CBC that The Ottawa Hospital would “manage resident care in both homes” in response to the outbreaks for at least 90 days — and possibly longer.

Acheson said Hill had been confined to his room for the past 27 days, without a proper shower — and that has her worried his condition could deteriorate.

“It’s just awful to think about being alone and confined to your room for that long for anybody. Like, just terrible,” she said.

“When he is able to be around people, they can kind of bring him back into the present and remind him of where he is and how he got there and what’s happening.”

Union on board 

Acheson said she hopes the current situation sparks changes to long-term care in

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