16 deaths and almost 2,000 COVID cases linked to aged care

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reported 410 new cases in his daily briefing yesterday, an increase on Tuesday’s total of 322 new cases.

The state now has 1,929 cases linked to aged care settings, from a total of 7,877 active cases.

Mr Andrews reported 21 deaths including two women and one man in their 70s, six women and five men in their 80s, one woman and five men in their 90s and one woman in her 100s, with 16 of these linked to aged care settings.

There are now 476 aged care residents in Victoria who have been transferred to hospitals.

“There’s a very significant challenge there each and every day, he said.

“Whilst we’ve seen some stability come to some centres, some facilities that were in crisis, everybody is working together, everybody is very much focused on trying to stay ahead of this in these settings and not have a situation where we see a repeat of some of the really difficult, really difficult, and tragic scenes.”

“To that end, each evening there are meetings between Department of Health officials from Victoria, those from the Commonwealth various ministers are briefed on that each evening.”

Mr Andrews confirmed there are now 122 active outbreaks in aged care homes.

The major outbreaks include:

  • 198 cases linked to Epping Gardens Aged Care in Epping (5 new cases since Tuesday)
  • 182 cases linked to St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner (8 new cases since Tuesday)
  • 153 cases linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer (6 new cases since Tuesday)
  • 129 cases linked to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth (2 new cases since Tuesday)
  • 115 cases linked to BaptCare Wyndham Lodge Community in Werribee (8 new cases since Tuesday)
  • 107 cases linked to Outlook Gardens Aged Care Facility in Dandenong North (1 new case since Tuesday)
  • 97 cases linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Heidelberg (no new cases since Tuesday)
  • 89 cases linked to Arcare Aged Care Facility in Craigieburn (1 new case since Tuesday)
  • 82 cases linked to Glendale Aged Facility in Werribee (3 new cases since Tuesday)
  • 79 cases linked to Aurrum Aged Care in Plenty (no new cases since Friday)

Residents at risk of “wandering” refused transfer; some sedated  

These numbers come on the heels of media reports that suggest residents at some infected facilities have been refused hospital admission and been heavily sedated.

The reports allege understaffed nursing homes have sedated residents who are at risks of “wandering” and infecting other residents and staff.

This comes as Dr Robert Hoffman, who reportedly visits multiple aged care homes, spoke on 3AW saying he’d seen similar incidents in at least two facilities.

“The idea that we can sedate people and monitor them safely in nursing homes is wrong,” Dr Hoffman said.

“It’s unproved. You need equipment and you need staff.

“Care staff basically have six weeks training… they can’t monitor someone’s vital signs.”

Keeping residents in homes a “medical judgement” – Andrews

Mr Andrews commented on these reports in his daily briefing, saying he didn’t believe them to be accurate based on advice and briefings from Royal Melbourne Hospital.

“Transfers to hospitals —the notion that people are being refused — that’s not the advice I have, he said.

“The notion of moving a dementia patient – let alone a large number of dementia patients – is very very challenging.”

Mr Andrews said decisions to keep residents in homes made by medical experts was not a matter of convenience, rather working in the resident’s best interests.

“Given that the number of residents transferred to hospitals continues to grow each day, would indicate to me, our clinical staff are making very difficult judgements, based on clinical needs and based on the circumstances of that particular resident,” he said.

“For some people it is much better to be treated in place than be moved in what can be an incredibly traumatic, and sometimes fatal, move.”

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