Two dozen staff at a hospital in Melbourne’s west are in self-quarantine, after a patient who attended the facility’s emergency department tested positive for coronavirus.

The patient visited Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department last Thursday and required urgent surgery but had no known symptoms of COVID-19.

Western Health’s executive director operations Natasha Toohey says 24 hospital staff have entered self-quarantine as a precaution, with testing also underway.

No other patients had been in close contact with the infected person.

“The safety of our staff is paramount and Western Health took immediate action in response to this positive result,” Ms Toohey said.

The development comes as Victorian Education Minister James Merlino accused the federal government of using funding to force independent schools to go against the state’s health advice.