35 outbreaks in Melbourne aged care services: 31 cases at Menarock aged care home, 13 at Allity home, another death

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Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed the worst – dozens of infected aged care residents and staff are among 177 new cases reported in Victoria yesterday, including 14 residents and 17 staff at Menarock’s Essendon aged care home, 12km northwest of the Melbourne CBD.

“The latest advice that I have is that there are 35 services, whether it’s an aged care residence or in some way shape or form, [or a]homecare residence where there has been either a staff member or a resident identified and having been tested positive,” he said.

Mr Hunt also weighed in on the Menarock outbreak, telling media that federal authorities were involved in managing the outbreak.

“This is a very important case… [the]home has seen federal authorities ensure that all staff and all residents have been tested. Those that have been tested positive, where hospitalisation is recommended are being provided hospitalisation. Otherwise, there is immediate isolation and separation being put in place.”

As we reported here last Friday – just three days ago – two staff members at the Essendon home had tested positive for the virus – now it’s 14 residents and 17 staff.

Menarock released a statement yesterday revealing all 14 COVID positive residents had been transferred to hospital. Another 21 residents had returned negative results with all re-tested and results pending.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, told a media briefing that the Menarock outbreak was being “intensively managed”.

“It is a concern,” he stated, adding: “We’re having success in the vast majority of our aged care cases [which]have been single staff members or sometimes multiple staff members without residents becoming infected.”

However, there are some larger clusters.

Estia has confirmed an outbreak among 13 residents at its Ardeer home plus two infected staff members (see the next story).

There are also now 13 confirmed cases at Allity’s Glendale aged care home in Werribee, 32.5km west of the CBD.

As we covered here, the home only had its first case last Thursday. 90-year-old resident Alf Jordan was sadly identified as Australia’s 107th coronavirus death overnight on Friday.

Japara has also reported two cases at its Central aged care home in Windsor, 6km southeast of the CBD.

Greek aged care provider Fronditha Care has also had a staff member with a positive case of COVID-19 at its St Albans home, 17km northwest of the CBD, on Friday 10 July.

However, they tell us the staff member did not work while infectious and was tested positive eight days after their last shift. They are also not a member of the direct care services team.

There has been some good news however. Benetas has confirmed the first round of tests of residents and staff at its St George’s home have all come back clear after a staff member tested positive last week.

They will now be conducting further testing, but say they are cautiously encouraged by the results at this time.

Victoria recorded 177 new coronavirus cases yesterday, with 25 cases linked to contained outbreaks, 151 under investigation and one infection in hotel quarantine, and 1,612 active cases in total.

Professor Sutton says the state now has four to five new outbreaks emerging every day, with the number of people in hospital now at 72. Of these, 17 are in intensive case.