How Australia’s two worst coronavirus clusters are LINKED: Private medical staff who worked on the Ruby Princess later did a shift at a care home where 16 people have died from COVID-19
- Aspen Medical staff worked on the Ruby Princess and at Newmarch House
- Two clinicians went to the aged care facility two days after working on the ship
- An Aspen Medical spokesperson said they both tested negative for coronavirus
- Sixteen people have now died from COVID-19 at the facility in Western Sydney
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Private medical staff worked at the aged care home that developed into a COVID-19 cluster just two days after a shift onboard the Ruby Princess, it has been revealed.
Two Aspen Medical staff members tested the Ruby Princess crew when the cruise ship was stuck off Port Kembla, near Wollongong, before working a shift at Newmarch House in western Sydney.
The medical staff, contracted by the federal government, worked on the Ruby Princess until April 23 and went to the aged care facility on April 25, The Guardian reported.
Two Aspen Medical staff members conducted testing onboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship (pictured) until April 23 before working a shift at Newmarch House on April 25
The staff members tested negative for coronavirus before starting their shifts at the Western Sydney Anglicare facility (pictured) in Caddens where 16 people have died from COVID-19
An Aspen Medical spokesperson said both clinicians had tested negative for coronavirus before starting their shifts at the Anglicare facility in Caddens.
The spokesperson said: ‘Both are experienced clinicians with significant experience in infection control and were in full PPE at all times whilst at Newmarch House.’
The Ruby Princess became responsible for the largest coronavirus cluster in Australia when passengers were allowed to disembark at Sydney’s Darling Harbour in March despite many displaying flu-like symptoms.
The ship has been linked to 21 coronavirus deaths and almost 700 infections across Australia.
It is believed the coronavirus outbreak at Newmarch House developed when a part-time staff member worked six shifts while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Now more than 60 residents and staff have tested positive for coronavirus and 16 residents have died.
Yesterday at least three additional workers at the Anglicare nursing home were confirmed to have COVID-19.
An Anglicare statement said: ‘The positive test results were discovered during our daily, rigorous testing regime which is now being applied to all staff working at Newmarch House prior to the commencement of their shifts.’
Aspen Medical also stood down a member of its surge staff on Monday after Anglicare accused the carer of breaching Personal Protective Equipment protocol.
It is believed the Newmarch House (pictured) COVID-19 cluster developed when a part-time staff member worked six shifts while experiencing coronavirus symptoms
The Aspen spokesperson said the company was still waiting to see an incident report from Anglicare and would then investigate the matter internally.
Speaking on the alleged breach of PPE, the federal aged care minister, Richard Colbeck, said: ‘Aspen Medical was engaged because it has national and international experience… and was able to demonstrate an ability to provide suitably experienced staff and response capacity.’
An Anglicare statement said: ‘Our team are working tirelessly to contain this virus which continues to have a devastating effect on residents, families and staff at Newmarch House.’
Newmarch House is being reviewed by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and the public health unit of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.
The royal commission has also called for submissions from family members who were impacted by COVID-19 in aged care.
The number of positive coronavirus cases across Australia as of May 6