Eleven people – five workers and six residents – at SummitCare Baulkham Hills have contracted COVID-19 after two members of staff worked at the aged care facility while infectious.
Around 66% of staff have not been vaccinated.
SummitCare Baulkham Hills, has been in a 14-day lockdown since last Friday and about 130 of the 210 staff members are in isolation off site. Chief Operating Officer Michelle Sloane (pictured below) on Tuesday commended staff continuing to work at the facility, which has 165 rooms.
“We have had to furlough at least 70% of our registered nurses it is my understanding … basically we have no staff left there. They are all surge workforce,” Sloane said.
COVID-19 testing of staff and the 226 residents inside the facility is taking place daily. Four physiotherapists entered the facility yesterday and will remain during the lockdown.
About two-thirds of staff at the centre have not been vaccinated, whereas 96% of residents had two doses of vaccine. Western Sydney Local Health District entered the facility on Tuesday and administered vaccines to 24 residents, making 99% now having at least one dose of vaccine.
National Cabinet agreed to make it mandatory for residential aged care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue to work in the sector and has set a 17 September deadline for the first dose
Residential aged care workers can access a COVID-19 vaccine through on-site providers and GP-run clinics, primary care and state and territory run services and dedicated aged care worker pop up clinics in greater Sydney, a Federal Health Department spokesperson said.
“In addition, commonwealth roving teams are returning to 235 aged care facilities in 18 local government areas in Greater Sydney to offer a COVID-19 vaccination to any residents or workers not yet vaccinated.
“Similarly, roving clinics have been deployed to aged care facilities in all Tier 1 locations in Victoria, as defined by Victorian health authorities.”
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reiterated what many people feel.
“The issues around aged care and health workers are challenging but we couldn’t quite understand why the federal government sent teams into aged care facilities to vaccinate the residents but not the staff,” he said.