A baby is fighting for life at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital after contracting Covid-19 from the mother of another baby.
A cluster of new coronavirus cases has been linked to the neonatal intensive care unit at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital where a newborn baby is fighting for life.
Two parents and one healthcare worker at the hospital are also infected, Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services says.
The newborn, believed to be just 3 weeks old, became infected when an infected parent of another baby entered the ward. They were not believed to symptomatic at they visited.
There are fears the outbreak could spread further. Contact tracing has revealed seven additional patients, three parents and 17 staff members could be infected and will be quarantined.
The Department of Health will test all babies, staff and parents who have spent more than two hours at the Butterfly Ward since July 12.
"As investigations are undertaken, these outbreak totals are likely to change as the public health team identify links between cases and identified outbreaks," the department said yesterday.
An update on the baby's condition is expected today.
Anyone who visited the hospital is being urged to get tested if they display any symptoms associated with Covid-19.
An emergency doctor at the children's hospital told Today the outbreak is "extremely concerning". She said it is the latest in a number of infections linked to babies and toddlers.
"We have been very confronted by the number of young, very sick people that we are seeing with Covid and the increasing numbers of those.
"We know that children are not immune to coronavirus and that more than 200 children under the age of 4 have been infected in Victoria."
Paediatrician and chief of medicine at the Royal Children's Hospital, Associate Professor Tom Connell, told 3AW it was important to for parents be alert.
"Use your instincts when your child is not quite right … because it could be Covid-19."
Melbourne mum Nikki Boyle knows how serious the virus can be. She rushed her baby daughter Stevie to hospital on Wednesday after she started showing symptoms, including difficulty breathing.
"It was very scary because she's so young. It was really confronting. It's hard to hear that high-pitched, distressed baby scream," she told the Herald-Sun.
Boyle took her daughter to the same hospital the night before after becoming concerned when she noticed Stevie had symptoms including a runny nose, cough and difficulty breathing.
She was tested but discharged from the hospital at 4am on Wednesday after doctors suspected a regular infection.
A few hours later Boyle got a call saying her baby had Covid-19.
Victoria recorded 532 new cases yesterday, making it the state's worst day of the pandemic.
The previous highest number was 484 last Wednesday.
Victoria also recorded six deaths, five connected to outbreaks in aged care.
The dead were three women in their 90s, 80s and 70s and two men in their 80s and one in his 50s.
Premier Daniel Andrews said there was now 4542 total active cases in the state - 683 connected to aged care.
He said 245 people were in hospital in Victoria with Covid-19, including 44 in intensive care.
Andrews said lockdown would not end and cases would continue to rise if Victorians did not stop going to work with symptoms.
"This is what is driving these numbers up and the lockdown will not end until people get tested because they have symptoms.
"It's not a matter of blame, it's not a matter of judgment, these are the facts and unless we see a change, then we're going to continue to see these numbers at unacceptably high levels. So, please, do something that will we will all be so grateful for – act on your symptoms.
- With Stephanie Bedo