Victoria has recorded its largest daily COVID-19 figures and the nation’s deadliest day of the pandemic within the space of 24 hours.
Ten new deaths were announced on Sunday, seven of which were linked to outbreaks in aged care facilities, with 532 more COVID-19 cases recorded across the state.
The deaths take the state’s toll from the virus to 71 and the national figure to 155.
There are currently 560 active COVID-19 cases linked to residents and staff of at least 40 homes in Victoria, including 83 cases at Estia Health in Ardeer and 78 at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner.
There are also 62 at Menarock aged care in Essendon, 63 cases at Glendale in Werribee, 57 at Kinbrae aged care in Kilsyth, 50 cases at Estia aged care in Heidelberg, 33 cases linked to Arcare Aged Care in Craigieburn, 21 cases linked to Baptcare Wyndham Lodge in Werribee, and 20 cases linked to Embracia Aged Care Moonee Valley in Avondale Heights.
This morning 83 cases were confirmed at a Heritage Care run home, Epping Gardens in Melbourne’s north, a huge jump from the two reported cases at the home on July 21st, as per the Nine papers.
In a press conference on Monday, PM Scott Morrison said the high rates in aged care reflects the soaring numbers in the wider community.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said workers turning up while sick is the biggest cause of community transmission.
“If you are sick, even mildly, you just can’t go to work,” he said.
“Otherwise, these restrictions will be in place for longer than they should be. And I’m sorry to say, we’ll say more people die.”
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth dismissed calls by community groups and aged care providers to transfer all COVID-19-positive residents to hospital.
He said decisions needed to be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the resident’s medical needs and clinical advice.
“Every single outbreak is different in regards to COVID-19. It affects different facilities in different sorts of ways when we’re talking about aged care,” he said.
He said his father had been at three different aged care facilities and COVID-19 would behave very differently in each.
“Based on the number of people who were together – people who were together in rooms, based on the number of single rooms, based on the level of care for those aged care residents, some of whom have very advanced dementia and behavioural issues as well as other care needs,” he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews said moving residents can be “a very traumatic and sometimes tragic process”.
“Whenever we upgrade an aged care facility, we need months and months of time to lead into that to appropriately manage a group of people for whom big profound change like that can be very, very challenging,” he said.
“They have the right to have a view about where they want to spend that final chapter of their days, COVID or no COVID.”
Earlier in the week, all residents from the Menarock Life Aged Care Centre were evacuated to a private hospital, including those who had not tested positive.
Aged and Community Services Association chief executive Patricia Sparrow said new guidelines preventing staff from working across multiple homes will help reduce the spread.
“It is anything up to about 30 per cent of the workforce that work in multiple facilities,” she told Seven.
“It is taking a little while, but the intent is to completely reduce that spread based on principles introduced last week.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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