Five new COVID-19 cases, two more Melbourne aged care homes affected

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Two aged care homes in Melbourne have directly affected by the latest coronavirus outbreak after staff members also worked at an aged care provider where a positive coronavirus case has been identified.

There have been five new locally acquired coronavirus cases recorded in Victoria in the past day.

In a letter sent on Sunday afternoon, the chief executive of aged care provider Royal Freemasons, Kerri Rivett, said the Coppin Centre in Melbourne and the Freemason’s Footscray centre had implemented “full outbreak procedures” and residents were self-isolating in their rooms.

She assured families that no staff or residents had yet tested positive to COVID-19 and said they were awaiting test results.

“We have just been notified that clinical staff members at our Coppin Centre and Footscray homes have last week, worked at another aged care provider where a staff member has now tested positive for COVID-19,” she said.

“The potential exposure occurred during work at the other provider and all staff were wearing a mask. Within our homes, staff have also been wearing masks at all times.”

An aged care worker at Arcare Maidstone tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend, with residents and staff at a Melbourne aged care facility to be encouraged to accept a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday.

The infection of the staff member of the Arcare home in Maidstone came even though the woman had been given her first vaccine shot on May 12.

Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said the Arcare case was one of “extreme concern” as it was not yet known how the staff member caught the virus. “We don’t have an acquisition source,” he said on Sunday.

In the letter sent to Royal Freemasons staff and families, Ms Rivett said that vaccinations have been provided at all their homes and most residents have had their first dose, with many homes completing their second vaccination.

“For the safety of residents, staff and families we have initiated full COVID-19 outbreak procedures at both Coppin Centre and Footscray while we wait for the return of precautionary testing results. This means that all residents will be self-isolating in their rooms and staff are now wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). Visitation is now restricted to those residents who are actively palliative.”

She said they have notified the Department of Health and commenced contact tracing and precautionary testing of all staff and residents will be undertaken on Sunday and Monday.

Lockdown restrictions currently in place in Victoria say that “where practicable, care facility workers should be limited to working at one facility”.

More to come.

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