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Dozens of nursing home flu outbreaks in one week alone: NSW Health data

Health authorities are pleading with members of the public to get their flu shot as dozens of influenza outbreaks ravage NSW residential care homes and continue to claim elderly lives.

NSW Health data released on Friday revealed 66 confirmed influenza deaths in the six months to June 30.

Of them, 26 were in residential care facilities and among people with other significant health issues.

The state’s residential care facilities have reported 112 outbreaks this year – 26 in the latest reporting week alone.

A mental health facility and a hospital were also hit with outbreaks in the past week.

NSW Health said unwell visitors may be putting loved-ones at risk.

“While we acknowledge the importance of visiting family members and friends in aged care facilities, if you are unwell with the flu we are asking people to stay home and minimise contact with other people if possible, until you have recovered,” communicable diseases director Vicky Sheppeard said in a statement.

Sheppeard also called on the NSW residents to get the flu vaccine.

“It is not too late to get vaccinated, we want to remind people that the flu vaccine is still the best protection, so please take advantage of the free jab,” she said.

The warning comes after a nursing home at Unanderra, near Wollongong, was placed in lockdown following an outbreak that began on the June long weekend.

Approximately 20 residents and 20 staff presented with flu symptoms, manager Robert O’Shea said on Wednesday.

Five residents were hospitalised and three died.

The facility is no longer in “outbreak control”, a NSW Health spokesperson said on Friday.

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