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A rare 'Code Brown' has been issued to all Melbourne metropolitan hospitals and six hospitals in regional Victoria.
Medical facilities are buckling under the pressure of the Omicron wave of coronavirus and the state government has sent out an alert.
A 'Code Brown' indicates there's an 'external emergency' affecting the hospital system and they need 'additional capability and capacity needs to be mobilised', according to Sky News Australia.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of hospital staff who are isolating at the moment due to having Covid-19 or being declared a close contact.
The limited staffing levels at the affected hospitals is now reaching a tipping point and it's hoped the Code Brown will address those shortages.
Deputy Victorian Premier James Merlino expects the code to last for up to six weeks.
"We've been saying for some time that our hospital system is under extreme pressure and the risks we're seeing now in hospitalisations are testament to that," he told reporters on Tuesday.
"We've reached a point in our health system where it's juggling severe workforce shortages."
There are more than 120 people in intensive care units around the state and Victorian health authorities said another 20,000 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the past 24 hours.
With the number of infections continuing to be in the tens of thousands, it's expected hospital beds will keep filling up.
Deputy Premier Merlino explained how the Code Brown will look for the affected hospitals.
"It will look like things such as redeploying staff to work in areas of highest clinical priority," he said.
"It means prioritising the offload of ambulance patients at EDs to get paramedics back on the road as soon as possible.
"It means things like changing services to free up staff, including the delivery of outpatient services outside of the hospital."
The declaration will give health services the power to cancel planned leave for staff, redeploy workers to areas that are needed and defer non-urgent services, according to News Corp.
The hospitals included in the Code Brown are all hospitals in the metropolitan area of Melbourne, as well as at Barwon Health, Grampians Health, Bendigo Health, Goulburn Valley Health, Albury Wodonga Health and Latrobe Regional Hospital.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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