News, Culture & Society

Covid-19 Australia: Second Melbourne Arcare aged care resident tests positive to coronavirus

Second vulnerable aged care resident tests positive to Covid in Melbourne after two unvaccinated workers caught the virus

A second aged care resident in a coronavirus-stricken home in Melbourne has tested positive to Covid-19.

The vulnerable patient is the second resident at Arcare in Maidstone to catch the virus after two workers tested positive this week, sending the home into lockdown.

It has since emerged that the initial worker was not fully vaccinated, and the second worker didn’t even have their first jab.

The vulnerable patient is the second resident at Arcare in Maidstone to catch Covid-19 after two workers tested positive

A resident at the Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone reacts to media from her window

A resident at the Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone reacts to media from her window

The first resident to test positive, a 99-year-old woman, is now in hospital. 

The second resident, 89, who is the cousin of the first positive resident and living in an adjacent room, recorded a positive test on Tuesday but was reported by Victoria’s Health Department on Wednesday.

‘Arcare is saddened to report that we have one additional resident at our Maidstone residence who has tested positive to COVID-19 today,’ CEO Colin Singh said in a statement. 

‘We are COVID swab testing these team members before they start to ensure they are safe to work.

‘We have been delivering activity packs to our residents today and team members who are isolating are ringing residents to offer a listening ear and emotional support.’ 

At this stage it remains a mystery how the the Arcare worker who first contracted the virus became infected and the state’s contact tracers are desperately trying to find the missing link.

It has since emerged that the initial worker was not fully vaccinated, and the second worker didn't even have their first jab. Pictured: An ambulance at Arcare aged care

It has since emerged that the initial worker was not fully vaccinated, and the second worker didn’t even have their first jab. Pictured: An ambulance at Arcare aged care 

Staff are seen leaving Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone, Melbourne, Monday, May 31

Staff are seen leaving Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone, Melbourne, Monday, May 31

Victoria’s gruelling lockdown was extended earlier today as state officials warned the coronavirus outbreak ‘will explode’ if restrictions were to ease in Melbourne.

There were six new cases being reported on Wednesday, bringing the cluster, associated with the Indian double mutant strain, swelled to 60. 

The federal government had declared on February 16 that all aged care facilities would be fully vaccinated by March 30 – but now with Victoria’s lockdown to be extended for another week, the promise has not yet delivered. 

Of Australia’s 910 coronavirus deaths, 685 have been aged care residents and there are fears the latest outbreak – which stemmed from a quarantine hotel in Adelaide – could cause more. 

A resident waves from an aged care facility in the Melbourne suburb of Maidstone

A resident waves from an aged care facility in the Melbourne suburb of Maidstone

Despite the inherent risks the body in charge of guiding Australia’s coronavirus response – The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee – did not opt to carryout mandating vaccinations for aged care workers after a January meeting.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday, asked the committee to reconsider their stance. 

‘In terms of mandatory, we are referring that question again to the medical expert panel of state chief health officers and Commonwealth officials, so that has been referred at the request of the Prime Minister and myself,’ Mr Hunt said.  

Another risk factor in aged care settings which was not addressed is staff working across multiple venues, potentially increasing the chance of spreading the virus.

Staff at exposed private homes – Arcare Maidstone and Bluecross Western Gardens – were working in several facilities before the outbreak. 

There were some guidelines brought in at the onset of the pandemic to restrict staff working at multiple venues, but the Health Services Union argued it was a breach of contract. 

The Fair Work Commission sided with the union and said in their ruling ‘the COVID-19 pandemic does not provide an employer with a unilateral right to vary or otherwise amend an employee’s conditions of employment.’ 

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino speaking to the media during a press conference in Melbourne on Monday

 Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino speaking to the media during a press conference in Melbourne on Monday

Healthcare workers are seen arriving to the Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone, Melbourne to clean the facility

Healthcare workers are seen arriving to the Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone, Melbourne to clean the facility

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk