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Aged care peak predicts return of tougher visitor restrictions

The worsening COVID-19 situation in Victoria could spell the return to more stringent aged care restrictions, the peak body for non-profit providers has warned.

Aged and Community Services Australia chief executive Patricia Sparrow said: “Sadly, and despite everyone’s best efforts, the situation in Victoria creates a greater risk for our residents, home care clients and staff.

“We are warning that increased protection measures around visitation are likely to be necessary in the coming weeks.”

The call came before news that two Melbourne aged care homes recorded new COVID-19 cases in the double digits.

Sparrow said providers will work to balance outbreak prevention with the mental, emotional and spiritual needs of residents and asked for continued understanding from visitors of the need for restrictions.

She added that aged care providers are calling on Australians to remain vigilant to protect older people.

“Everyone knew that as general restrictions in the community were lifted this would increase the risk of clusters and outbreaks and that’s exactly what has happened. 

“We can’t get blasé about aged care because older people are one of the most vulnerable groups for COVID19,” she said.

Leading Aged Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said it was “a matter of life and death”.

“The number of aged care homes with infections is increasing and the clear and present danger persists,” Rooney said.

“The entire community, especially across Melbourne and Victoria, must re-commit to absolute caution because this virus has proven deadly for far too many older people.”

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