Another aged care facility has been hit with a coronavirus outbreak, with three people testing positive and more cases expected to emerge.
Victorian health officials are investigating a possible new cluster of COVID-19 at Hawthorn Grange age care centre in Melbourne’s east.
State chief medical officer Brett Sutton said extensive testing is being conducted after two residents and one staff member were found to have contracted the virus.
‘I think we’ll get on top of that. We’ve identified those additional cases and tested across the board for residents and staff,’ Mr Sutton told 3AW on Thursday.
‘(Aged care facilities) are places where you absolutely need to act down on it immediately and that really means extensive testing, including individuals with no symptoms.’
Health authorities are investigating a possible new coronavirus cluster at Hawthorn Grange aged care home in Melbourne’s east after three people tested positive
Three people, including two residents and one member of staff, were confirmed to have the virus, according to officials. Pictured: Two people wear protective face masks while walking in Sydney on April 23
Professor Sutton said the origin of the outbreak is unknown, as it is difficult to trace whether a staff member transmitted to a resident or vice versa.
‘The measures are the same. We really need to make sure that everyone is tested, and that everyone who is positive is isolated and everyone else who is a contact is quarantined,’ he told ABC Radio.
Victorian Minister for Ageing Luke Donnellan said health authorities and government aged care specialists were providing support to the privately-owned facility.
But it was not yet known how many people at the centre may have the virus, or whether people will need to be moved out of the facility.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,746
New South Wales: 3,016
Western Australia: 551
South Australia: 438
Australian Capital Territory: 106
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 6,746
‘It’s very early on,’ Mr Donnellan said.
‘To date, we haven’t had outbreaks like with NSW. I very much hope that that remains like that.’
News of the possible new cluster comes after Victoria recorded seven new cases of coronavirus.
Ten mobile coronavirus testing sites are now operating across Melbourne as part of Victoria’s effort to test up to 100,000 people in two weeks.
The latest cases bring the state’s total tally to 1,361 while the death toll remains at 18, after a woman in her 80s died on Tuesday.
There are 18 people in hospital, nine of them in intensive care.
The ‘hotels for heroes’ program set up to assist hospital and health workers who might have contracted coronavirus or been in close contact to a positive case was expanded on Thursday.
‘The opportunity will be provided to those who work in the public sector aged care facilities and it will also be provided to those who work in disability accommodation,’ Mr Donellan said.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton on Thursday confirmed extensive testing is being conducted at the facility
Ten mobile coronavirus testing sites are now operating across Melbourne as part of Victoria’s effort to test up to 100,000 people in two weeks. Pictured: A woman cleans a traffic light on a nearly empty road in Melbourne on April 28
‘It is important that these people who have potential risks to be exposed to COVID-19, but also the potential to spread it around the community, that they have the opportunity to isolate safely.’
The announcement of a new cluster comes after two dozen staff at a hospital in Melbourne’s west were put in self-quarantine.
A patient who attended Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department last Thursday tested positive for coronavirus.
The patient required urgent surgery but had no known symptoms of COVID-19.
They developed a mild cough over the weekend and undertook a test for the virus, returning a positive result.
Western Health’s executive director operations Natasha Toohey says 24 hospital staff have entered self-quarantine as a precaution, with testing also underway.
No other patients had been in close contact with the infected person.
Anglicare’s Newmarch House in western Sydney, where 11 elderly residents have died from coronavirus so far
‘The safety of our staff is paramount and Western Health took immediate action in response to this positive result,’ Ms Toohey said.
The earliest restrictions will be lifted in Victoria is May 11, when a state of emergency comes to an end.
Meanwhile, NSW Health on Thursday confirmed the death of a 12th resident at Anglicare’s Newmarch House nursing home after the facility announced the death of the 77-year-old male resident on Wednesday. It brings the state’s death toll to 42.
About 80 residents are still living at the home near Penrith.
Twenty registered nurses, 25 carers, 11 cleaners and a GP are working daily at the nursing home where 34 residents and 22 staff members have tested positive to COVID-19.
Anglicare chief executive Grant Millard has said the facility was anticipating more deaths as the home runs as a ‘pseudo hospital’.
Mr Millard on Thursday acknowledged the facility has been under ‘extreme pressure’ as it tries to manage infections and communicate with residents’ families.
Residents have been isolated since the outbreak on April 11 with the home on Thursday saying it has arranged for some family members to visit and talk to their relatives through windows.
NSW has 3,016 confirmed coronavirus cases with 2,284 people having recovered from the disease.