Aged care workers who live in Sydney’s Canterbury-Bankstown area have to take a test for COVID-19 every three days before being allowed into their workplace, where residents are particularly at risk.
NSW Health updated the advice to extend to all nurses, doctors, aged care and health workers in the south-west council area as concerns rise about the spread of the virus in critical workplaces.
“From this Friday, a person who lives in Canterbury-Bankstown LGA and who engages in aged care or healthcare can only work outside (that area) if the person has been tested for COVID in the previous 72 hours,” NSW Health executive director Jeremy McAnulty said on Wednesday.
Dr McAnulty said the number of areas of concern had expanded from south-east Sydney, then south-west Sydney and “we’re now seeing cases in western Sydney increase”.
Minchinbury Manor aged care facility in Rooty Hill, 42km west of Sydney’s CBD, remains in lockdown after a contract cleaner tested positive to COVID-19. Daily testing is taking place of residents and staff, while the cleaner and five close contacts of the cleaner in the facility were immediately isolated.
About 90% of the 134 residents in Minchinbury Manor have had the Pfizer vaccination (a few residents had AstraZeneca vaccine prior to entering the facility). It is understood 90% of workers had been vaccinated, with management directing the remainder to be vaccinated urgently.
SummitCare Chief Operating Officer Michelle Sloane said on 17 July a nurse, from Surge Agency, had tested positive to COVID-19 and the aged care facility in Baulkham Hills, 31km northwest of Sydney’s CBD, remains in lockdown. It went into lockdown when six residents and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19 on 2 July.
70 nurses and staff returned from 14 days of isolation to SummitCare aged care facility in Baulkham Hills. They were to be vaccinated on site this week.
Additionally, residents of The Palms aged care centre at Kirrawee, 25km south of the Sydney CBD, are in isolation after a staff member tested positive to COVID-19.
The residents – most of whom are vaccinated – are being treated as close contacts while the situation is further assessed.
“Staff will be implementing strict infection control measures, and carefully monitoring residents for any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath,” the facility said in a statement.
“Residents, and affected staff, will be tested on-site within the next 24hrs.”