Jim and Peter Staffieri found that their 92-year-old mother Luisa tested positive for COVID-19 at the Epping Gardens nursing home yesterday morning.

They waited for hours outside the nursing home until they were taken to the hospital in an ambulance on Wednesday evening.

“We’re just so happy to see her – because we don’t know when we’ll see her again,” said Peter.

She waved to her sons and spoke briefly to them from a distance before the ambulance drove away.

Jim and Peter Staffieri were able to say goodbye to their mother when she was taken to the hospital. (

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The Epping Gardens nursing home in northern Melbourne is one of the most severely affected coronavirus clusters in the state, with around 61 residents and 22 infected employees.

34 residents were relocated from the Epping Gardens nursing home on Tuesday and more residents were hospitalized yesterday.

Peter said he was glad to see his mother being relocated from Epping Gardens because he “had no confidence” that she would get the care she needed at home.

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“At least in the hospital she will get the care she needs. I think it would be too late if she got sick here,” he said.

Luisa is just one of many geriatric nurses being rushed to hospital as coronavirus deaths continue to rise.

Of the recent elderly care-related deaths, 11 were related to St. Basil’s in Fawkner, two to Epping Gardens and one to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth.

Victoria is working to contain 87 outbreaks in old people’s homes that have killed more than a dozen people in the past few weeks.

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SAS of the Medical World arrives in Victoria to tackle the growing coronavirus outbreak

Meanwhile, the first Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) personnel, normally deployed to overseas disaster areas, will begin their work in Victoria today.

Federal Minister of Health Greg Hunt called the relief teams “SAS of the medical world” last weekend.

“They helped with quarantine, they helped in Western Australia, they helped with activities across the country and they are the best of the best,” he said.

Five AUSMAT senior nurse experts from other states will be deployed to Victoria, and two Victoria-based specialist logisticians will be deployed to support the nurse deployment and the Aged Care Response Center.

Two dark green tents will be erected in a meadow outside the Epping Gardens geriatric care buildings.Tents have been pitched at the Epping Gardens nursing home as medical teams battle to contain a coronavirus outbreak. (

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A federal health ministry spokesman said that to date, more than 450 temporary workers have been deployed at providers that have had a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

The federal government is also supplying 500,000 reusable face shields to elderly care workers across Victoria and releasing an additional 5 million face masks from the National Medical Stockpile for elderly care workers.

Peter Staffieri said he was glad the federal government sent health workers to help.

“Let’s hope they clean it up and it gets better now,” he said.

A line of ambulances stands in front of the Epping Gardens nursing home.Ambulance vans outside Epping Gardens nursing home in northern Melbourne bring coronavirus-infected residents to a hospital. (

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Prime Minister Daniel Andrews reiterated his plea for people with coronavirus symptoms to stay home and get tested, saying the spread of the virus was due to outbreaks in the workplace.

All employers must now immediately notify WorkSafe as soon as they discover that an employee, contractor or employee of the contractor tested positive for the virus and was at work during the infection period.

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