The number of COVID-19 cases in residential aged care homes across the nation is continuing to increase alarmingly.
On 22 July, there were a record-high 9,537 (6,118 residents and 3,419 staff) COVID cases in 1,013 residential aged care homes.
Compare this to 3 June, when there were almost half the number of infections, with 5,516 (3,603 residents and 1,913 staff) cases in 694 active outbreaks. The case numbers in aged care homes have been rising since March.
The number of COVID deaths among aged care residents has also steadily grown. As of 22 July, 2,301 have been recorded, up from 1,642 on 3 June – just under two months ago.
114 residents died from the virus in the seven days to 22 July, which was lower than the 132 residents who lost their lives in the seven days to 15 July.
“We are going backwards,” said Paul Sadler, interim CEO of the sector’s peak body, the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA).
“It is not uncommon for 10% of aged care workers to be off with COVID, and we had an operator on the NSW Far North Coast with 20% of staff off. A home care provider told us he had 40% of his workers off with the virus or isolating.
“The reality is we can’t leave older people without adequate levels of care for too long.
“This is a challenge for the new government as it cannot magically produce workers. The ADF is a help, as it’s an additional group of workers going into aged care. It is, though, a drop in the ocean,” he added.