Ballarat Base Hospital is among six regional Victorian hospitals, and all Melbourne hospitals, under a 'code brown emergency' declared by the state, as the system buckles under COVID-19 admissions and staff shortages.
A code brown is declared when additional capability and capacity needs to be mobilised to receive an influx of patients due to an external emergency.
The order will mean some hospital staff may be recalled from leave and more emergency services will be deferred.
The cancellation of leave will be negotiated between the hospital and staff.
It will come into effect from midday on Wednesday and apply to all metro hospitals and six in the regions including Barwon, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury and Latrobe.
The code brown declaration is expected to last from four to six weeks and will ease pressure on the system ahead of the expected peak of hospital cases.
There are currently about 5000 health staff unavailable across the state after they tested positive for COVID-19 or were identified as close contacts.
As of Monday, the number of people in hospital in Ballarat with the virus was down on the week before.
The city recorded a drop in daily cases and active cases in the 24 hours to midnight, Monday.
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