Tuesday, 9 August 2022
    1000 active Covid outbreaks in aged care
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    1000 active Covid outbreaks in aged care

    Aged care providers are "very concerned" rising COVID-19 outbreaks in the sector could be similar or worse than outbreaks seen earlier in the pandemic, ABC News.

    Interim Aged Care Providers Association (ACPA) CEO Paul Sadler said there were currently 1,013 COVID outbreaks in aged care facilities nationally.

    Queensland has the second most of any state, with 219 outbreaks, totalling 5,192 cases amongst residents and staff during the current outbreaks.

    New South Wales has the most outbreaks, with 322.

    "We have over 6,000 residents nationally and over 3,400 staff who have COVID," Mr Sadler said.

    "We are concerned that we'll see a level of impact similar to, or possibly even greater than that we had with the first Omicron waves back in December-January, so we are concerned about the next few weeks.

    "But we are also at the same time better prepared in terms of personal protective equipment, rapid antigen test availability, and also the antivirals."

    With the COVID wave still swelling, staffing shortages again threaten the industry.

    "We're hearing that somewhere between 10 to 15 per cent of staff are currently unavailable due to catching the disease or being close contacts — that's a pretty regular number," Mr Sadler said.

    "We are concerned that as the uptick in BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron happens over the next few weeks, we will see a return to the levels of absence that we had back in January in the first wave of Omicron, which was up as high as 30 per cent of staff unavailable."

    On Sunday, Queensland Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said of all COVID-realated deaths in the past five weeks, over 97 per cent were people aged 65 years and older, with two thirds of those not up-to-date with their booster shots.

    ACPA is calling on the government to extend the availability of ADF support for the sector, past the August 12 end date.

    FULL STORY

    More than 1,000 active COVID-19 outbreaks in Australia's aged care sector, with Queensland second highest, taking toll on staff and residents (ABC News)

    PHOTO

    Aged care residents in Queensland are at risk of COVID, with authorities forecasting a surge in cases.(ABC News: Phoebe Hosier)