Rydges hotel security guard delivered food after catching COVID-19

A security guard who worked at the Rydges outbreak hotel said he delivered food while he was positive with COVID-19.

The Rydges on Swanston became the source of 90 per cent of Victoria's current COVID-19 cases after an outbreak there in May, the state's inquiry into hotel quarantine has heard.

Rydges on Swanston hotel, the source of 90 per cent of Victoria’s second wave COVID-19 cases.Credit:Penny Stephens

A security guard, whose identity has been suppressed by the inquiry, contracted COVID-19 while working there in May.

In evidence to the inquiry on Monday, the guard said he thought he had caught a cold while he was working at the hotel. He also noticed other workers there sniffing.

"I noticed some of the other guards were sniffing but I thought that was because it was a cold night," the guard said in his statement tendered to the inquiry on Monday.

He said he was never told to inform anyone at the hotel if he had symptoms, nor was he sure about COVID-19 symptoms. He was never given any training in COVID-19 or infection control before he began working there.

The guard told the inquiry he began to feel worse during his night shift and felt like he had a fever.

"I did not tell anyone at the Rydges hotel that I felt unwell – I thought it was just a common cold and nothing to worry about," he said in his statement.

As he drove home after he shift, he noticed a sign beside the freeway that said: "If you have symptoms, get tested."

He slept, and he still didn't feel well when he woke that afternoon, so, he walked to the hospital to get a test.

He said hospital staff told him to stay home until he got his results. He wasn't rostered on at Rydges, so, feeling a little better, he said he did three or four food deliveries.

When his positive test came back, he was contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services and told to isolate with his housemates at home.

But by his last three days of isolation, he told the inquiry he had no symptoms so he continued to deliver food.

The guard told the inquiry he was bored.

After that, he felt a shortness of breath again and returned another positive test.

He told the inquiry he was contacted by the department again and told that, because it had been 14 days since his first positive test, he was allowed to go out.

That week, he worked in his regular job as a security guard at a warehouse.

"As far as I know, nobody at the warehouse contracted COVID-19," he said in his statement.

He told the inquiry he had read on the news that while there could be COVID particles in his body, he was not infectious.

Unified Security ran security at the hotel, but the guard was sub-contracted through SSG Security to work there in May.

During his first few days at Rydges, he was told there was a shortage of masks and gloves and the guards should use the same mask and gloves for the whole shift.

The guard told the inquiry another worker told him that when he went on meal breaks, just to put his protective gear in his pocket, but to do so out of sight of security cameras.

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