Department of Health extends Victorian ban on aged care staff working across multiple sites until October – but DHHS says some workers still at more than one facility

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The Federal Government says the ‘Guiding Principles for residential aged care – keeping Victorian residents and workers safe’ will stay in effect for workers in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire until at least 26 October – and possibly longer – but Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has revealed that some workers are still moving across multiple sites.

As we covered here, the Principles were introduced on 27 July until 25 September by Health Minister Greg Hunt (pictured above) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading among aged care residents and staff by limiting workers to one site.

But a DHHS spokesperson has said providers and unions “continue to work to consolidate shifts at single sites and to reduce the number of work locations for staff” – suggesting there are still workers moving between sites.

The Federal Government has released more funding through its Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 Grant so providers can apply for funding to pay workers are paid their usual income while they can’t work at multiple facilities.

However, providers must still apply for the grants and wait to be reimbursed while they foot the bill for the additional staffing costs.

The Principles are not in place without reason however. Around 10 to 15% of Victoria’s aged care outbreaks have been linked to staff who worked at other facilities introducing the virus.