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Rapid virus response for SA nursing homes

A rapid response team has been established to deal with any COVID-19 infections in South Australian nursing homes, as health authorities warn against complacency in the fight against the virus.

The dedicated SA Pathology team has been assembled to provide greater protection for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

If an outbreak occurs, the team will immediately test everyone in the facility, helping to quickly identify cases, limit the spread and protect both residents and staff.

“A key to protecting our state from a resurgence of this disease is our success in dealing with cases as they are identified,” Health Minister Stephen Wade said.

“The way to stop a case from becoming a cluster, and a cluster becoming an outbreak, is to identify and isolate cases and contacts quickly.

“Older people are much more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, and residents in aged care facilities are at particular risk as we see in both Australia and overseas.”

So far, 27 of Australia’s 97 deaths from the coronavirus have occurred in nursing homes.

SA reported no new virus cases on Sunday, with only one new infection reported over the past 18 days.

The state’s total number of cases remained at 439.

Only one case is still considered active.

But the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Mike Cusack, said it remained vital for all South Australians to continue to do the right thing in terms of good hygiene and social distancing.

“I would really like to remind people that we shouldn’t become complacent.

“We’ve seen just over the state border in Victoria there are still cases on a daily basis, and that could happen in South Australia still.”

Cusack said with some restrictions to be eased this week, the likelihood of new cases spreading would be “that much further and faster”.

From Monday, all country accommodation across SA will be allowed to reopen, including caravan parks, hotels, motels and Airbnb services.

Alcohol-free outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants and the resumption of outdoor sports training will also be permitted.

Universities and TAFE colleges will be free to resume face-to-face learning; public swimming pools, places of worship and libraries can reopen; and open-house inspections and home auctions will be permitted.

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