Healthcare workers in Victoria who test positive for COVID-19 or need to self-isolate for 14 days will get access to free accommodation in hotels or apartments.
The move will allow healthcare workers to keep their families or housemates safe, without the financial burden of taking on extra rent.
The state government said this was particularly important for those who live with other healthcare workers or members of vulnerable cohorts – including people over 65, people who are immunosuppressed or have an underlying chronic condition, pregnant women, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The accommodation will be available to clinical and non-clinical staff – including cooks and cleaners – at public and private hospitals that directly engage with patients, as well as frontline paramedics and patient transport staff.
The move has been welcomed by ANMF (Vic Branch).
“Nurses, midwives and carers are among the healthcare frontline workers and professionals who are most at risk,” said ANMF ( Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick.
“These are extremely challenging times for Victoria’s more than 100,000 nurses and midwives and their health services as they prepare for a surge in COVID-19 patients,” she said.
According to Ms Fitzpatrick, some of the their members have been advising them that they are worried about sharing a home with families and house mates in the event they have to isolate.
“This alternative accommodation initiative removes the worry of how to protect family members, finding and paying for somewhere else to live when healthcare workers are most at risk of bringing COVID-19 home and lets them focus on caring for the Victorian community.
“The ANMF also thanks health services who have already been assisting their workforce at a local level with their accommodation needs,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.