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Victorian premier Daniel Andrews pays emotional tribute to nurse Gillian Dempsey, who died with COVID

Victoria’s premier has thanked a nurse who died after contracting COVID-19 for her years of service to the state.

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

“Can I on behalf of all Victorians say how sorry we are to hear someone who committed their entire working life to caring for others has lost her life in the service of others,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters at parliament.

“She was double-vaxxed, she was wearing PPE, she was doing all the right things, but she’s contracted the virus and as we’ve said so many times this can be deadly.

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“We thank her and her family for many years of dedicated care, we honour the contributions made to our state.”

Gillian ‘Jill’ Dempsey died while in intensive care at Box Hill Hospital on Sunday afternoon, her employer Eastern Health confirmed on Tuesday. Credit: 7NEWS

Ms Dempsey began working for Angliss Hospital in 2007 and was a “beloved” night shift nurse, Eastern Health said.

She is survived by her husband Michael and their three children.

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

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The ANMF believes she contracted the virus while at work.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to media at the Victoria State Parliament on Wednesday.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to media at the Victoria State Parliament on Wednesday. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE

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

Victoria has recorded 1179 fresh COVID-19 infections and six deaths on Wednesday.

The state is now managing 11,959 active infections.

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There are 299 COVID patients in the state’s hospitals, 43 of them are actively infected with the virus in intensive care and 18 requiring ventilation.

The exterior of Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne.
Nurse Gillian Dempsey died while in intensive care at Box Hill Hospital on Sunday afternoon. Credit: AAP

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.

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