A Melbourne aged care home has been placed into lockdown after a worker tested positive to Covid-19.
The staff member had been working while potentially infectious and asymptomatic at Arcare Maidstone on Thursday.
Victoria’s testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the woman came forward for Covid-19 testing after displaying symptoms on Friday.
Arcare CEO Colin Singh sent out a letter to families saying the aged care home had been placed into lockdown as a result.
‘We are currently undertaking contact tracing whilst working closely with both Commonwealth and state agencies and outreach services to support our clients and team members,’ he said.
‘At this time, there are no other cases of COVID-19 in any of our other residences and we have actively limited the movement of team members between residences and visitation since the Stage 3 lockdown came into effect.’
The staff member had been working at Arcare Maidstone while masked and asymptomatic on Wednesday and Thursday
A Melbourne aged care home has been placed into lockdown after a worker tested positive to Covid-19 (pictured, health worker at Covid-19 testing clinic in Melbourne’s south)
The worker had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and was wearing appropriate protective gear at the time.
Mr Weimar said health authorities were working closely with the aged care home to contain the spread of the virus.
‘Residents have been confined to their rooms,’ he said. ‘They have been isolated immediately. Staff have now upgraded to tier three PPE.’
‘Staff coaching was of course already in place and that has now been stepped up, and my thanks to all the staff who are at that site, doing the really important work to establish where else this virus may have circulated in that particular vicinity.’
Mr Weimar called for calm among families who had relatives living in the aged care home.
‘We know of course that anybody who has families in aged care will be particularly concerned,’ he said.
‘We will be working closely with them and our understanding is that the operator of this particular aged care facility has already been in contact with the families to set out what steps they will be taking.’
The staff member is one of five new locally-acquired cases of Covid-19 that was announced on Sunday.
Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino also announced the government will be releasing a $250million package to help businesses through the seven-day lockdown.
While refusing to speculate on an extended lockdown, Mr Foley said he was confident Victorian authorities were bringing the issue under control
The state was placed into lockdown at 12.01am on Friday with only essential businesses – such as supermarkets and pharmacies – allowed to operate while residents have only been allowed to leave their homes for five reasons.
Small businesses have criticised the lockdown, which is the fourth in 12 months, and demanded support from the government.
Mr Merlino said the support package would be available for small and medium sized businesses as well as sole traders.
He took the opportunity to level criticism at the federal government for not stepping in and lending a hand.
‘Victorian workers need support and that is where we needed Canberra to come to the table, and I am very sorry to say that they have refused to do that,’ he said.
‘We asked multiple times, multiple times, for the federal government to support workers during this period and the unrelenting answer has been no.
‘Victorian workers deserve more from the federal government and I am beyond disappointed that the answer from the Prime Minister and the Treasurer has been no.’
The news comes after Victoria announced on Sunday it had recorded five new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases and one in hotel quarantine
More than 17,700 vaccinations were administered on Saturday.
The southern state also diagnosed five new local COVID-19 cases on Friday, four of which were close contacts of a food delivery driver who travelled across north and southeast Melbourne while potentially infectious.
The state’s health minister, Martin Foley, nevertheless said on Saturday authorities were ‘getting close on the heels’ of the virus outbreak.
Most infections are linked to Melbourne’s City of Whittlesea cluster, with cases testing positive for the B1617 strain first identified in India.
The final case was a person connected to the Port of Melbourne outbreak linked to Stratton Finance. A worker at the financial firm visited a Mickelham display home and infected a worker there, Mr Foley said.
At least 14 Stratton employees are now COVID-positive.
While refusing to speculate on an extended lockdown, Mr Foley said he was confident Victorian authorities were bringing the issue under control.
Masks are mandatory and residents can only leave home to shop for essentials, provide or receive care, exercise, work or study or get vaccinated.
But scores of Melburnians queuing for the COVID-19 jab on Saturday faced long waits after technical issues crippled booking systems.
Masks are mandatory and residents can only leave home to shop for essentials, provide or receive care, exercise, work or study or get vaccinated
It comes after the state’s coronavirus hotline was flooded with more than 77,000 calls in 15 minutes when it was announced on Thursday that eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine would be expanded to people aged 40-49.
The Victoria Department of Health’s Jeroen Weimar said the state was currently unable to administer more than roughly 20,000 jabs a day.
The strict measures also this weekend sparked anti-restriction rallies.
There were multiple injuries and 14 arrests when about 150 people gathered in the CBD on Saturday to protest against the lockdown.
More to come