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Alba Iulia
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Filipinos among highest number of Covid infections in Victoria

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Jason Cordi
Jason Cordi
Editor-in-Chief, The Philippine Times

The Philippine Times has received information that the Filipino community are among the top 5 multicultural communities infected by the coronavirus in Victoria. Key state government authorities have organised meetings with Filipino community leaders and media this week to discuss the challenges the community faces, as well as ways the community can be supported to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Philippine Consulate in Melbourne reports 26 cases among Filipino nationals, including two fatalities

Most of the 26 individuals reported to Acting Consul General Anthony Mandap are Filipino international students. Some of these are being supported by Filipino organisations based in Melbourne.

ConGen Mandap has also noted two fatalities which have been reported by The Philippine Times: Gely Costanilla, 84, who passed away on 7 April, and Emma Kotsakis, 93, who passed away on 5 August.

Gely Costanilla was the 10th person to pass away in Victoria due to the coronavirus.
Nanay Emma Kotsakis lived at Glendale Aged Care in Werribee

Other reports from the Filipino community

The Philippine Times has received several reports of individuals and families that have been infected by coronavirus in the western suburbs of Melbourne, including St Albans, Flemington, Ardeer, Delahey, Werribee, as well as Wollert in the north. Likewise, there were reports of people in the eastern suburbs of Kilsyth and Berwick who tested positive.

In regional Victoria, there were some Filipino-Australians who tested positive in Geelong, including a chicken factory worker who has shared her story: Covid positive Filipina from Geelong breaks down after being taken into hotel quarantine.

 A Filipino-Australian family of five who caught the virus share their warning about how quickly the virus can spread within a household: Filipino-Australian family of 5 tested COVID positive.

A large number of those who tested positive are aged care workers and frontline nurses in hospitals. In one aged care facility in Melbourne’s East, at least 10 Filipinos including their household contacts have tested positive.

Michael Rojales
Michael Rojales of Berwick spent 72 days in hospital, including two weeks in an induced coma.
Maria Bradford tested positive after working with COVID patients in aged care in Ardeer.

The Philippine Times has tried to get an interview with several nurses from various hospitals who were confirmed to have tested positive for covid, but they have declined due to workplace privacy policies.

Community Consultation meetings to be held

A community roundtable meeting involving The Philippine Times will be held on Friday 21 August to discuss COVID-19 in the Filipino community in Victoria. The Philippine Times has also been invited to a meeting on Saturday by Member for Cranbourne Pauline Richards,  who wants to know the challenges faced by the Filipino community in the south eastern suburbs.

Former Victorian Multicultural Commissioner Melba Marginson has raised serious concern over the vulnerability of Filipinos in Victoria to COVID-19.

“We know that there is an over-representation of Filipinos in the health and aged care systems. You go to hospitals and you’ll find that most of the nurses are Filipinos. You go to nursing homes and you will find Filipinos working there as PCAs and PSAs. I will not be surprised if the Filipinos are in the top 5 of nationalities infected by COVID-19,” says Ms. Marginson.

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She said recent feature news from The Philippine Times about Filipino victims, including Maria Bradford, Ella from Geelong, and Michael Rojales is just the tip of the iceberg.

Ms. Marginson requested the Victorian Multicultural Commission Chair Viv Nguyen to lead the online meeting of Filipino community leaders on Friday, August 21 to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Filipino Australians. The new Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ms. Ros Spence and Parliamentary Secretary Josh Bull MP will be attending, as well as Senior Medical Adviser Rhonda Stuart and key DHHS representatives.

Since early July, coronavirus numbers spiked in Melbourne’s western suburbs

Throughout the month of July through to mid-August, the top two hotspot local government areas and suburbs in metropolitan Melbourne have shifted to Wyndham and Brimbank.

3.5 % of the people that live in Wyndham and 3.9% of residents in Brimbank are Filipino, including those born in the Philippines and those with Filipino ancestry (2016 ABS Census data).

The top ten Local Government Areas* are shown below:

LGAConfirmed cases (ever)Active cases (current)
*DHHS report 19/8/2020

Hotspot postcodes and suburbs within Wyndham and Brimbank:

3029: Tarneit, Truganina, Hoppers Crossing with 416 active cases of coronavirus. A total of 1070 people in these suburbs have contracted the virus.

3030: Werribee, Werribee South, Point Cook have 289 active cases, with a total of 584 cumulative cases since the pandemic began.

3023: Caroline Springs, Cairnlea, Deer Park, Ravenhall, Burnside Heights and Burnside have 195 active cases, with 442 total cumulative cases.

3021: St Albans, Albanvale, Kings Park and Kealba have 233 active cases, with 565 total cases.

3020: Sunshine West, Sunshine North, Sunshine and Albion have 191 active cases, 415 total cumulative cases.

3037: Sydenham, Hillside, Taylors Hill, Delahey, Calder Park have 174 active cases, 382 total cases.

The Philippine Times will continue to share the DHHS coronavirus campaign in Tagalog on our social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. Some of the most important messaging as part of this campaign are shown below:

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