Melbourne aged care homes in Melbourne have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and have seen their cases jump in recent days with new outbreaks. Despite the active cases, Victoria’s Health Officer Brett Sutton said the outbreaks are being “dealt with appropriately.”
St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner, 17km north of the CBD, has seen its number of cases jump from 13 on Monday to 51 yesterday.
The administration is collaborating with Federal authorities and have been forced to take drastic measures to protect residents and personnel from the outbreak.
On Wednesday, there were 47 residents, most of them Greek Australians, including 15 out of 18 residents of the dementia wing which tested positive for the virus, along with 18 staff members. Eight of the residents infected had serious symptoms and had to be hospitalised to reserve further care.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said, “All staff members who worked at St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner during early July have been deemed as close contacts of the current outbreak at the facility.
“As this nearly covers the entire staffing cohort, DHHS has worked alongside the Commonwealth to provide a temporary workforce to service the facility while appropriate quarantine is observed.
“This temporary workforce will be made up of experienced aged care professionals, including staff with appropriate culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as to best assist the demographic of the residents.”
Kon Kontis, President of St Basil’s in Melbourne, sent a letter to all members of staff to inform them of the DHHS decision which went into effect on Wednesday. All personnel will need to be tested by 26 July and would return to their posts by 30 July should tests prove negative.
Staff members would be paid during this time.
Another letter was sent by Mr Kontis to the relatives of residents at St Basil’s informing them of the situation and measures being taken to self-isolate residents and staff members.
The letter states that there will be doctors and nurses from Northern Health RECIPE team and Geriatricians on site offering medical services to the residents.
Mr Kontis told Neos Kosmos that Aged Care and Senior Australians Minister Richard Colbeck has shown understanding for the situation at St Basil’s and Archbishop Makarios was “devastated with the news” and would release a statement to the families of residents at the facilities.
A statement by the Board of St Basil’s said the Chairman and Board of St Basil’s Victoria, together with Archbishop Makarios, would continue to remain vigilant in monitoring the situation daily and in cooperation with the governing authorities, and would directly communicate any changes as soon as they are received.