Jul 07, 2020

Melbourne aged care facility locks down unit as staff member tests positive to COVID-19


As Melbourne records nearly 200 new cases of COVID-19 and faces a further six weeks lockdowns, a staff member at Assisi Aged Care facility has tested positive to the deadly virus.

The staff member had not worked at Assisi for over a week at the time of the test result and did not show any symptoms until five days after the last shift worked, according to a statement issued by the aged care provider.

Assisi immediately informed both state and federal health authorities, and was advised to take “immediate stringent action to reduce risks”, according to the statement.

The actions taken include widespread testing of all staff and residents, and lock down of the affected unit. Any visitors to the unit will be tested and PPE will be mandatory for all staff caring for residents in isolation. Strict infection control measures remain in place and even the mildest symptoms are being picked up due to increased vigilance. “Deep cleaning” is being conducted frequently.

“Some residents and staff have been placed in precautionary isolation pending further assessment and advice from authorities,” Assisi said. 

Seven staff have also tested positive to COVID-19 at Melbourne’s busiest emergency department, Northern Hospital. All staff in the department are being tested.

Minister urges older Australians to remain vigilant

As the scale of Melbourne’s second wave ramps up, the Aged Care Minister, Richard Colbeck, has urged older Australians to remain vigilant against COVID-19.

“Senior Victorians should closely follow advice as authorities work to contain emerging clusters,” Mr Colbeck said.

But elsewhere in Australia, the stable low number of cases of COVID-19 has permitted progressive relaxation of travel and other distancing restrictions. 

Mr Colbeck said the risk of becoming infected with the virus depends on the chance of being close to someone with COVID-19 or coming into contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus.

“If there are no cases or a low number of cases and no evidence of community transmission, then the risk of exposure is low – regardless of age or health conditions,” he said.

Minister Colbeck said in areas outside Victoria, residents previously categorized as at higher risk of becoming ill could return to work and take part in recreational activities, so long as they “followed precautions”.

Social distancing, practising good hygiene, and downloading the COVIDSafe app are all good ways to prevent the spread of infection, Mr Colbeck said.

Where case numbers have increased, residents should consider the risk to the individual, the risk to others, the level of transmission of COVID-19 where they live and travel, and whether interactions and activities can happen safely.

“Each person has a personal responsibility to protect themselves, to protect loved ones and the wider community,” Minister Colbeck said.

“People will have different things that are important to them and will be comfortable with different levels of risk.”

“We are facing an extraordinary health challenge and we need to work together to protect the people we loved most,” the minister said.

The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line for older Australians is available Monday to Friday, except public holidays, from 8.30am to 6.00pm on 1800 171 866.



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  1. Look. What all Aged Care facilities need are qualified outside health officials to take over the training of all the staff from the top to the bottom! There should be at least 2 professionals per shift (3 shifts a day) Watching and endorsing better PPE practice. Our Nursing staff and AINs are flat out as it is so I am assuming most aged care facilities are the same. Why on earth did anyone think that the design of these facilities were any good amazes me. They look like old fashioned hospital wards with long corridors leading to one open planned room for dining and lounge. And often with ghastly odours eminating throughout the facility due to the large no of incontinent residents. They say that this is their home and yet they put them in fold out chairs in front of a Television for hours while they tend to dozens of other residents with their behaviours and hygiene cares. Please tell me why don’t aged care facilities have isolation wards and isolation rooms on each ward? The type of rooms that have all the PPE and handbasin etc in it before you actually walk into a vulnerable resident’s room? Like 2 rooms in one. If we are not happy to send our elderly to hospital when they should be sent then why not have a purpose built hospital like ward with isolation entries to each room? And have doctors working there like you would in a hospital. You would need more nurses as well. Yep the government should do the right thing and just take over the aged care industry and design new buildings. If these facilities were designed properly they would look like a home and not a psychiatric hospital! Better design and smaller home like buildings with only 7 people sharing a house sounds more helpful to one and all. It would also be easier to stop the spread of a virus like Covid 19. Designers need to build these homes (Houses) with foresight. I believe there is something like this on the Sunshine State. Wonderful idea. Parks on the estate for families and residents to barbeque and picnic. All we have at mine is a footpath to nowhere!! Bloody disgusting. The elderly have been forgotten and taken over by the big boys and shareholders. Most of the people running aged care were running real estate and some were in the building industry. Dreadful hey but it makes sense when you need to make profits. The elderly are now the new hot thing for profiteering off!! Let’s agree to build houses on estates that can cater for maybe 5 to 7 residents. Eg:_ husbands and wives to share 2 or 3 double bedrooms with own ensuite and 3 or 4 si glen roo. With their own ensuite ( hygiene reasons guys) and then you would have a theatre room and kitchen then dining g and lastly a lounge room. Just like a real home. Check out the place on the Sunshine Coast. The spread of flu and Covid could be contained easier or send them to the local hospital wing. Just an idea.

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