‘Beloved’ Victorian nurse dies from COVID-19

Nurse Gillian Dempsey died from COVID-19 while in intensive care at Box Hill Hospital.

Nurse Gillian Dempsey died from COVID-19 while in intensive care at Box Hill Hospital. Photo: AAP

A Melbourne nurse who died after contracting COVID-19 is believed to be the first Victorian hospital worker to be killed by the virus.

Gillian “Jill” Dempsey died while in intensive care at Box Hill Hospital on Sunday afternoon, her employer Eastern Health said in a statement.

Ms Dempsey began working for the hospital in 2007 and was a “beloved night shift nurse in the Angliss Hospital Emergency Department”.

“An incredibly caring wife and mother, Jill is survived by husband Michael and their three children,” Eastern Health said.

“Her loss will reverberate around the tight-knit team at the Angliss Hospital and our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues at this time.”

The tributes came as Victoria confirmed 1179 fresh COVID infections and six deaths on Wednesday.

The state is managing managing 11,959 active infections.

There are 299 COVID patients in Victorian hospitals. They include 43 actively infected with the virus in intensive care and 18 requiring ventilation.

The seven-day hospitalisation average is 296.

Virus testers processed 74,252 results on Tuesday, while 4045 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in state-run hubs.

About 91 per cent of Victorians aged over 12 are fully vaccinated.

Earlier, Ms Dempsey’s union, the Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, told the ABC she was the first hospital worker in the state to die from COVID-19.

The ANMF believes she contracted the virus while at work.

“This is something we feared and a sobering reminder that nurses, midwives and all healthcare workers are on the pandemic frontline,” the union said in a separate statement.

“We acknowledge their bravery and courage. This is a reminder of how vulnerable they are.”

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine also expressed its condolences, with Victorian faculty Chair Mya Cubitt saying the pandemic had been “a terrible period for emergency healthcare workers and Gillian’s death is hitting us all hard”.

Ms Dempsey’s nursing colleagues were in shock at her death, she said.

An online fundraising effort set up to support Ms Dempsey’s family by paying for funeral costs and other financial stress has raised more than $25,000 in less than 24 hours.

-with AAP

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