Butcher manager with COVID rushed to ICU

The manager of a butcher at the centre of Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping centre outbreak has been rushed to ICU for a second time after testing positive for coronavirus last week.

Speaking exclusively to NCA NewsWire, The Butcher Club owner Peter Robinson said the 53-year-old Chadstone store manager had “come good” after testing positive on September 28 but had “taken a turn for the worse” on Tuesday.

“We’ve had a bit of a hiccup with the manager – he was taken to hospital to ICU in an ambulance the first time around just after he tested positive but had come good, but he’s taken a turn for the worse yesterday,” he said.

“Doctors were thinking about putting him in an induced coma, but they’re happy with his progress now.

“I spoke with him this morning and he seemed pretty upbeat. He has a nurse by his side 24/7 – the hospital staff have done an incredible job.”

Mr Robinson said the store manager would remain in ICU at Dandenong Hospital for the next two days and in care for another seven days.

The Chadstone cluster grew to 31 cases overnight.

Eight staff members of The Butcher Club, 11 family and close contacts and four customers have all tested positive for COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services is yet to confirm which categories the remaining five cases fall into.

Mr Robinson said staff from his other 22 stores had stepped in to operate the Chadstone site while the infected workers and close contacts remained in isolation.

He said two staff members had since returned to work after being cleared of coronavirus.

It has been revealed the cluster began with a household outbreak in Frankston.

A number of people from that large household of nine people worked as cleaners for The Butcher Club store in Chadstone Shopping Centre, where one of them went to work despite being infectious.

On Wednesday the Premier was confident the Chadstone cluster was “under control”.

“That‘s certainly the advice from the public health team. They’ve done a great job in very rapid response, very localised response,” Daniel Andrews said.

“Some of the tactics as well has been, you know, not just what the textbook would tell you, but going, indeed, above and beyond that, so not doorknocking every other business once but doing it twice, pop-up testing clinics. I think there‘s also been some engagement with a number of high-risk businesses in neighbouring shopping centres as well.

“This has been very well handled, but at the same time, it just speaks to how wildly infectious it is that it can run, even when it’s well handled, you can finish up with 30-plus cases.”

anthony.piovesan@news.com.au

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