The Federal Department of Health has pushed back the end date for the COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program Extension grant to next year, as Australian aged care homes record 5,005 active COVID-19 cases in 644 active outbreaks.
As at 8:00am 17 June, residential aged care facilities around the country had recorded 3,316 cases in residents and 1,689 cases in staff. NSW had the highest number of cases, with 1,208 residents and 534 staff, while the NT had the lowest at zero residents and eight staff.
The grant covers expenses such as personal protective equipment, additional staffing costs, and cleaning and infection control.
“The closing date for applications has been extended to 2pm Canberra local time on 31 January 2023, to support approved aged care providers with additional costs to manage a direct impact of COVID-19 up to 31 December 2022. Additional funding of $83.4 million will take the total funding available under this grant to $191.5 million,” the Government said.
Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler (pictured) has said he wants to put “more energy” into the booster program.
“We know there are six million Australians who are eligible for their boosters who haven’t had it yet. You’re not fully protected until you have three doses, and we know what that can do to prevent severe disease and hospitalisation, or even death. We’ve got to do better on the fourth dose in aged care,” he told Sky News.
Only 50% of aged care residents had received a fourth dose of COVID vaccine as of last week.