The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) stated in a media release that it is working closely with Victorian authorities and St Basil’s Home for the Aged to relocate all remaining residents to hospitals in order to contain the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility in Fawkner, Melbourne.

“The decision was made co-operatively between Commonwealth and Victorian officials,” says the message.

“Ambulances and healthcare professionals have attended St Basil’s this morning to facilitate the transfer of the remaining 30 residents to several hospitals across Melbourne.”

The decision was made to transfer residents due to the reduction in staff numbers at the aged care facility where at least 16 residents had lost their lives during yesterday’s tally.

Six staff at St Basil’s have tested positive for COVID-19, and as a precautionary measure all staff have been instructed to be tested and self-isolate for a mandatory period.

Executive Officer of the VACRC Joe Buffone acknowledged the extremely difficult circumstances faced by the residents of St Basil’s and their families.

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“The Response Centre’s highest priority is keeping the aged care residents safe, minimising the spread of the virus, the safety of staff and saving lives.

“This is about ensuring high quality care for St Basil’s residents during this challenging time,” Mr Buffone said.

The families of residents are being contacted to ensure they are aware of the transfers.

Not all residents are happy with the move.

Marina Milou, whose 94-year-old mother entered the facility eight months ago, says her mother, Maria Rapti, suffers from dementia. “On 15 July, they informed us that she tested positive to the virus but had no other symptoms,” Ms Milou told Neos Kosmos. “16 days have passed but she has no symptom. Suddenly, I learnt that she is being transferred to hospital and I am worried that she may become another tragic statistic.”

She states that there has been “chaos” at the facility since federal authorities took over. She managed to FaceTime her mother twice, but she was shaken as they had changed her room. On Thursday, they managed to take her outside in the sun. “She was happy and laughed,” Ms Milou said.

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“Why are they taking her to hospital? I am worried that this might harm her,” she said.