Jul 23, 2020

Top doctor on the verge of tears as 63 Victorian aged care homes now infected


Health authorities have revealed the coronavirus outbreak has now spread to 63 aged care facilities across the state of Victoria. 

It is believed that 170 residents and 146 staff members at residential homes have tested positive, along with four elderly people and six staff members involved with in-home services.

Today, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews revealed that five more Victorians have died as a result of COVID-19, three of which were linked to Victorian aged care homes.

In a sobering interview on Channel 9’s Today program this morning, president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Tony Bartone, fought back tears as he described the impending disaster for Victorian aged care homes.

“Our residents in aged care facilities are just a heartbeat away from calamity,” said Dr Bartone.

“We have seen this astronomical explosion in cases there. The PPE is not being worn. Infection control procedures are not being implemented in some.”

“This is just absolutely unsustainable and we are just going to see the (case) numbers continue to rise.”

Today host Karl Stefanovic was visibly taken aback by Dr Bartone’s tone and the severity of his claims.

“That man is considered, that man is knowledgeable, and that man is incredibly worried,” he said. “Incredibly worried. He’s saying we need help. We need help here in Victoria,” said Mr Stefanovic.

A grim reality

Victoria has reported 403 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours resulting in five deaths, the state’s highest number of fatalities across 24 hours.

Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos today confirmed that there will be tougher restrictions across aged care homes and hospitals.

Aged care residents are now only allowed one visitor per day, with a one-hour time limit placed on visits, but exceptions will be made for parents visiting with a child and in some palliative care situations.

The hospitalisation of residents who have tested positive for coronavirus has been a hot topic of late, as a number of providers have stated that they are not equipped to provide adequate isolation and acute care to manage the illness in their facilities.

In a recent interview with Sky News, Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck reiterated that residents who genuinely needed hospital treatment would receive it.

“Some of them won’t want to go to hospital and some of them clinically won’t need to go to hospital,” he said.

“We need to make sure that the capacity in the hospital system remains there to take care of those that genuinely need it.

“And those that genuinely need it should and will go to hospital.”



Photo Credit – iStock – Konoplytska

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