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Australian media and sports celebrities have offered a message of thanks to Victoria’s ambulance and healthcare workers ahead of further predicted peaks in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations in the State.

Stars featured in the message of thanks are TV host Julia Zemiro, AFL legend Kevin Sheedy, Channel 10 The Project’s Peter Helliar, Waleed Aly, and Carrie Bickmore, Olympic bronze medallist Harry Garside, and Nova FM’s Sam Pang, Chrissie Swan, and Jonathan Brown. United Workers Union very own #CovidHeroes also joined the star-studded cast in offering their support.

Today, Victoria reported 1036 new cases of coronavirus, along with 702 hospitalisations but the Government fears cases will increase as restrictions are eased, putting even more stress on the health system and its workers.

As well as thanking frontline workers for their efforts so far, the celebrities have also urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible to take the pressure off the strained system.

Ambulance Employees Australia Victoria (AEAV) secretary Brett Adie said the message had been well received by paramedics who were doing it tough.

“I would like to thank all of the celebrities who made an appearance to offer their thanks. It’s only a small thing but this little bit of solidarity has been a welcome boost for those who are worried that the hardest part is probably still to come,” Adie said.

“Paramedics in Victoria, like their colleagues in the other states, are being asked to do more and more with no relief in sight.

“The focus at the moment, understandably, is the stress that extra COVID hospitalisations are causing but in reality, the system has been under strain for a decade or more.

“Unfortunately, this also means there is no quick fix to the current crisis, and I am very worried that the staffing woes will only be compounded by resignations due to burn-out. We want them all to know that the community values their efforts.

“This is not unique to Victoria, or even Australia, but it should be a wake-up call for our leaders that when things return to somewhat normal that health services need to be better funded and resourced to ensure when pandemics, or other crises occur, we are able to immediately scale-up, not scratch around and rely on band-aid measures.”

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