1,198 aged care homes have COVID-19 as cases surge

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Australian aged care facilities experienced a massive spike in active COVID cases between 14 and 20 January, from 7,000 to almost 20,000.

19,059 active cases were reported as at 20 January 2022, compared to 7,014 one week prior; this comprised 7,861 resident cases and 11,198 staff cases. 1,198 residential aged care facilities had active outbreaks, up from 1,107 a week prior.

According to analysis by aged care advocate Dr Sarah Russell reported in The Guardian, 703 aged care homes across Australia reported fresh outbreaks in the fortnight from 7 January and 105 reported fresh case spikes, with significant surges hitting larger homes of more than 100 residents.

Dr Russell’s research shows that, of the 10 aged care homes with the highest surge in cases during the fortnight to 21 January, eight were in NSW; additionally, 50% of the 163 COVID deaths in aged care homes so far this year were in NSW, with Queensland at 20%, and Victoria and South Australia at 14% each.

A total of 1,134 people have died of COVID in aged care homes since the start of the pandemic, with 685 dying in 2020 and 282 dying last year.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said last week that all vaccinated aged care residents in Australia will have received a booster by the end of the month.

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