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Inside Melbourne’s coronavirus stricken nursing homes where hundreds of cases have emerged

Workers in aged care facilities that have been smashed with hundreds of coronavirus cases have complained of conditions in the facilities.  

Among the issues they have raised are staff shortages, being unable to take leave, inadequate training, and 30 per cent of staff working across multiple facilities. 

Aged care continues to be at the heart of Victoria’s coronavirus outbreak, with five of Monday’s six deaths were residents in aged care facilities. 

The federal government with the help of Victorian officials has established an emergency response centre at St Basil’s aged care facility where medical staff were seen transporting residents out of the centre on Monday.  

The bulk of the 161 deaths in Australia have been people aged over 70, including 67 residents in aged care services.

‘It is important to understand that the challenges – and they are significant in the aged care sector – are a reminder that when community transmission occurs with COVID-19, the aged care sector will all be impacted,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Monday.

Ambulance officers remove a resident from the St Basil’s Home for the Aged in the Melbourne suburb of Fawkner on July 27 2020 with 84 cases of COVID-19 linked to the facility 

The government has established an emergency response centre at St Basils (po

The government has established an emergency response centre at St Basil’s (pictured: a resident is walked to an ambulance from the St Basil’s Home for the Aged in the Melbourne suburb of Fawkner on July 27, 2020) 

Medical staff prepare to transport people from the St Basil's Home for the Aged Care in Fawkner as aged care facilities suffer huge numbers of COVID-19 cases

Medical staff prepare to transport people from the St Basil’s Home for the Aged Care in Fawkner as aged care facilities suffer huge numbers of COVID-19 cases 

The federal government, which has responsibility for the sector, has stepped in at St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner and has set up an emergency response centre with the Victorian government for the wider aged care crisis.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said outbreaks at aged care facilities remain disturbing.

‘These are very challenging numbers. We’re at a very challenging stage with this wave,’ he told reporters.

Prof Sutton said there were now 84 cases linked to St Basil’s at Fawkner, 82 at Estia Health in Ardeer, 77 at Epping Gardens Aged Care, and 62 at Menarock Aged Care in Essendon.

53 cases have been linked to Glendale Aged Care in Werribee and 57 to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth.

The federal government has set up a call centre for families to get information on their loved ones after widespread confusion.

Victoria has recorded 532 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day total in the state since the pandemic started

Victoria has recorded 532 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day total in the state since the pandemic started 

St Basil's is one of a number of aged care facilities in Victoria with large numbers of coronavirus cases

St Basil’s is one of a number of aged care facilities in Victoria with large numbers of coronavirus cases 

Medical staff were seen at the facility on Monday transporting a number of people out

Medical staff were seen at the facility on Monday transporting a number of people out 

Melbourne man Nicholas Barboussas was told by St Basil’s at the weekend his father was in the home and doing well, after he had been told by Northern Hospital hours earlier his father was fighting for life.

Mr Barboussas told Nine’s Today program the family managed to FaceTime with the ill grandfather before he died on Sunday, after Victoria’s official case and toll figures were announced.

Aged and Community Services Association chief executive Patricia Sparrow said new guidelines are being rolled out to prevent staff from working across multiple homes, in a bid to reduce the spread.

‘It is anything up to about 30 per cent of the workforce that work in multiple facilities,’ she told Seven.

Workers at the aged care facilities have complained of staff shortages and inadequate training

Workers at the aged care facilities have complained of staff shortages and inadequate training 

Medical waste is removed from the St Basil's Home for the Aged in the Melbourne suburb of Fawkner on July 27, 2020

Medical waste is removed from the St Basil’s Home for the Aged in the Melbourne suburb of Fawkner on July 27, 2020 

‘It is taking a little while, but the intent is to completely reduce that spread based on principles introduced last week.’

A United Workers Union survey of 1000 aged care staff released on Monday found workers often had not received additional coronavirus safety training or that their aged care facility did not communicate their infection plan well.

It also found workers have been struggling with staff shortages and increased workloads since the outbreak, with structural issues rife.

90 per cent of workers worried their colleagues may have to work if they have mild symptoms because of a lack of sick leave. 

MEdical

Ambulance officers wait to transport residents from the aged care facilities to other medical centres 

Deep cleaning was conducted at the facilities on July 27 by staff in PPE gear

Deep cleaning was conducted at the facilities on July 27 by staff in PPE gear 

VICTORIA’S COVID-19 NUMBERS 

VICTORIA’S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR JULY 27

* 532 new cases, the 22nd consecutive day of a triple-digit increase. This is the state’s worst daily figure during the pandemic

* Six more deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 77 and the national figure to 161

* 4542 total active cases across the state

* 683 active cases connected to aged care

* About 400 health workers currently infected

* The latest deaths include a woman in her 90s, a man and a woman in their 80s, a man and a woman in their 70s and a man in his 50s

* Five-of-the-six deaths have been linked to aged care outbreaks

* 245 people in hospital with 44 people in intensive care

* More than 1,518,107 tests have been processed since the start of the pandemic

* 17,588 tests conducted on Sunday

* This is Victoria’s highest daily total, followed by 484 on July 22

OUTBREAKS AT AGED CARE FACILITIES

* 84 cases to St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner

* 82 cases linked to Estia Health in Ardeer

* 77 cases linked to Epping Gardens Aged Care

* 62 cases in Menarock Life aged care in Essendon

* 53 cases linked to Glendale aged care facility in Werribee

* 57 cases linked to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth

* 50 cases linked to Estia Health in Heidelberg

* ‘Our outbreaks, our areas of transmission are occurring in workplaces, mostly essential workplaces and it is spilling into aged care. The aged care outbreaks are absolutely a consequence of community transmission but they represent a tragedy for the families involved. For some private aged care facilities the numbers are disturbing.’ – Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

* Professor Sutton said of people in aged care – ‘They are at significant risk of dying. That is an inescapable fact in these settings where there are outbreaks in aged care, the mortality is extremely high’

Source: Victorian government.

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