Face masks made mandatory for aged care and home care staff in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire – four million masks to be supplied by Federal Government

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Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck issued the edict in a joint statement, saying four million masks will be deployed from the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) to aged care and home care providers in the areas with restrictions including greater Melbourne and Mitchell shires.

There are around 449 aged care homes and 425 home care operators in the area, with a total of 60,427 aged care residents.

Let’s say each home has at least 20 staff on a shift who are each allocated a mask with three shifts a day – that is 26,940 masks a day or over 188,000 in a week.

“With the current surge in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, there has been a particular emphasis on ensuring additional PPE has been sent to Victoria to ensure aged care workers in that state have access to such equipment,” Minister Colbeck said.

Another one million masks will be allocated for frontline healthcare workers.

Wearing a mask at the beginning of his press conference on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on Monday afternoon, Mr Hunt said the stock would allow for greater use of PPE to ensure affected providers’ needs are met.

“We are getting ahead of the curve, and this will be fundamental,” he said.

“We know that our aged care homes are an area of risk.”

“We have seen the Menarock outbreak and we have responded in conjunction and in partnership with Victoria to make sure that each person within that facility who has been affected and is not given specialised care and treatment, where hospital is required, that’s been provided, where isolation is needed, that is provided.”