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Victoria has called a ‘Code Brown’ to ease pressure on the state’s hospital wards as they are inundated with Covid patients.

The state’s health authorities have sounded the alarm for all Melbourne hospitals and six regional hospitals: Barwon, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury/Wondonga and Latrobe.

A ‘Code Brown’ warning means under-pressure hospitals can defer less urgent health services to other facilities and cut outpatient services to free up staff to work in intensive care units. 

The alert will come into effect from midday on Wednesday.

The declaration is expected to last between four to six weeks and will ease pressure on the system ahead of the expected peak in hospital cases.  

Victoria has called a ‘Code Brown’ to take pressure off the state’s hospital wards, which are overwhelmed by Covid patients. Pictured is a paramedic moving equipment outside St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne on January 11

WHAT IS A CODE BROWN ALERT?

A ‘Code Brown’ allows health authorities to ease the strain on under-pressure hospitals. 

Hospitals covered by the code can defer less urgent health services to other facilities.

Outpatient services will be cut to free up staff to work in intensive care units. 

Some hospital staff may be recalled from leave and others will be asked to defer their time off work.

Ambulance patients will be offloaded at hospital rapidly so paramedics can get back on the road as soon as possible.  

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The order will also mean some hospital staff may be recalled from leave.

Any cancellation of leave will be negotiated between the hospital and staff. 

There are about 5,000 health staff unavailable across the state after they tested positive for Covid or were identified as close contacts. 

Despite the seriousness of the alert, many made light of the name of the warning online. 

‘In my day code brown meant everyone had to get out of the pool,’ one person wrote on Twitter. 

‘Stop saying code brown,’ another said. ‘It has such smelly connotations.’ 

The alert came as Victoria recorded 20,180 cases on Tuesday and the state recorded 22 new Covid-related deaths. 

Tuesday’s new infections include 11,747 from rapid antigen tests and 8433 from PCR tests.

It is the second consecutive day case numbers have declined in the state.

It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 235,035 – a fall of about 10,000 cases since Monday.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Monday said hospitalisation numbers were yet to peak, as he predicted that may not be reached for a month

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Monday said hospitalisation numbers were yet to peak, as he predicted that may not be reached for a month

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Monday said hospitalisation numbers were yet to peak, as he predicted that may not be reached for a month

Victoria recorded a 10 per cent drop in Covid cases on Tuesday (pictured tennis fans attending day one of the Australian Open on Monday)

Victoria recorded a 10 per cent drop in Covid cases on Tuesday (pictured tennis fans attending day one of the Australian Open on Monday)

Victoria recorded a 10 per cent drop in Covid cases on Tuesday (pictured tennis fans attending day one of the Australian Open on Monday)

Paramedics are seen tending to their ambulance outside St. Vincent hospital in Melbourne on January 11. The 'Code Brown' alert will come into effect from midday on Wednesday

Paramedics are seen tending to their ambulance outside St. Vincent hospital in Melbourne on January 11. The 'Code Brown' alert will come into effect from midday on Wednesday

Paramedics are seen tending to their ambulance outside St. Vincent hospital in Melbourne on January 11. The ‘Code Brown’ alert will come into effect from midday on Wednesday

Tuesday’s patient numbers are a decrease of 77 on the previous day.

The number of people in ICU has decreased by two to 127, though 43 people are now on ventilation, an increase of five.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Monday said hospitalisation numbers were yet to peak, as he predicted that may not be reached for a month.

He said there was a lag of about two weeks between case numbers and hospital admissions, and three weeks for that to translate to ICU figures.

In NSW, a record 36 people died on Monday after testing positive to Covid. 

The youngest of the NSW fatalities was aged in their 40s while all but three were over the age of 65.  

Source: Daily Mail

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