Missy Higgins' Father Slams 'Unfair' Reporting Of His Coronavirus Case
The Victorian doctor who tested positive for coronavirus is singer Missy Higgins' dad, and he has lashed out at the state's health minister for "unfair" comments about his actions.
Chris Higgins is a doctor at The Toorak Clinic in Melbourne. He is believed to have contracted COVID-19 in the US. He showed symptoms while returning to Melbourne via San Francisco on February 29.
The doctor treated more than 70 patients while ill, prompting concern for his patients, authorities confirmed on Saturday. He is currently in isolation, and his patients and staff are required to self-isolate.
Two patients he visited in Malvern's Mecwacare nursing home are also in isolation.
"I'm absolutely flabbergasted that a doctor who has experienced flu-like symptoms has presented to work," Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said on Saturday.
"I understand it was very mild symptoms -- perhaps he didn't make the potential link -- but we've now got 70 patients that have been contacted, so it is incredibly important that all healthcare workers take this matter very seriously."
In a post on Facebook, Mikakos asked that "if you experience any symptoms, please take it seriously."
Higgins himself soon commented on the post, saying he was "upset about the inaccuracies and unfairness of your comments."
"This is not the story that I told the [Department of Health and Human Services] whose job it is to relay information to you," Higgins wrote.
"I had a mild cold when I returned from the USA last Saturday morning which had almost resolved itself by Monday morning, hence my decision to return to work. I hesitated to do a swab because I did not fulfil your criteria for testing but did one anyway on Thursday evening for sake of completeness, not imagining for one moment it would turn out to be positive."
"I believe you have taken a cheap opportunity for political grandstanding and would appreciate an apology."
Former federal MP and Australian Medical Association president, Dr Kerryn Phelps, wrote in her own social media post that Higgins "is owed an apology by the Victorian Health Minister."
Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly had a message for unwell people, especially workers: "Don't soldier on."
Australia has more than 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with two deaths and 22 people who have recovered as of Saturday evening.
The NSW government on Saturday announced eight new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 36.
All of the new cases were close contacts or family members of previously confirmed cases, except for two men who contracted the virus after visiting Italy.
A Sydney school will reopen on Monday following a thorough clean after a male student tested positive.