Heart-wrenching details revealed of St Basil’s deadly COVID-19 outbreak

Heart-wrenching details of neglect, failed protocols and chronic understaffing have been heard in the first hearing of an inquest into the COVID-19 outbreak at Melbourne's St Basil's aged care home.

During the height of Victoria's second wave, 117 residents called the facility home and 50 of them died during the outbreak – 45 of them from coronavirus.

Victorian State Coroner Judge John Cain will probe the Fawkner aged care home deaths and the circumstances in which they occurred.

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The names of the deceased were today read aloud in the Coroner's Court – a tragic three minutes for devastated loved ones.

"As devastating as these numbers are, they don't tell the whole story," council assisting the coroner Peter Rozen said.

"Evidence collected by the court … suggests certain features of the home, its management and the way the outbreak was addressed by external agencies that combined for the tragic outcome that materialised."

Mr Rozen said the basic needs of many of the "highly dependent residents were neglected to a point that a number presented at hospital dehydrated, malnourished, suffering from serious pressure sores and in very poor general health, in addition to being COVID-19 positive".

The hearing heard the first infected staff member at the site worked two shifts while she waited to receive a COVID-19 test result.

READ MORE: Victoria records 24 new COVID-19 cases

Judge Cain will have the power to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in future following the inquest.

The judge said he was aware the grieving families were looking for an explanation as to what happened at the facility and why.

"It's hard to imagine a more difficult and distressing situation for all of you," he said.

The full inquest is expected to run for a number of weeks later this year.

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