Home | News | Perth aged care worker tests positive for COVID-19, Estia closes to visitors

Perth aged care worker tests positive for COVID-19, Estia closes to visitors

Three healthcare workers returned to work in Perth after contracting coronavirus overseas, with one of them completing several shifts at an aged care facility before prompting a lockdown.

An Aegis Aged Care Group spokesperson said the man worked at a transition facility in Bayswater before returning positive test results.

He was among 10 cases confirmed on Monday, when the facility was close to its capacity of 30.

“We are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that all relevant tracking is taking place for all who may have had any contact with the staff member,” a company statement read.

“No other Aegis facility is affected by this single COVID-19 case and we are maintaining our already strict infection control protocols.”

The spokesperson said no residents were currently showing any symptoms.

The two other infected healthcare staff work at Joondalup Private Hospital.

Meanwhile, an aged care service provider has moved to bar all visitors from its homes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It’s a step up from new measures introduced by the federal government, which would limit visits to aged care facilities to short, two-person visits once a day.

An email from Estia chief executive Ian Thornley to family and friends of residents said its facilities would close to visitors from 5pm yesterday.

“We understand that this decision will have significant impact on our residents and their close contacts and sincerely apologise for this,” he said in the email.

Visitors would still be allowed in “exceptional circumstances on compassionate grounds” with volunteers also to be barred from Estia homes and non-essential resident outings banned.

Estia is a commercial aged care provider running nearly 70 residences in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation says the government should ban all non-essential visits to aged care homes.

Three aged care residents have already died from the virus.

“This government is completely out of touch with the reality that currently exists in nursing homes,” acting federal secretary Lori-Anne Sharp said.

Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said more measures are inevitable.

“We need to get the balance right between compassion and care, and caution and protection,” he said.

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