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ACT Health working with local aged care, as Melbourne crisis continues

ACT Health is continuing to work collaboratively with government and non-government stakeholders in its contingency plan to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in the local residential aged care sector.

This news comes as Melbourne’s current aged care crisis continues, where COVID-19 is now active in 97 facilities across the city and 12 aged care residents died from the virus overnight.

As of today (5 August), there were 1,435 active COVID-19 cases in Victoria liked to aged care, and the total number of aged care coronavirus-related deaths in Australia was 118.

An ACT Health spokesperson said the department was prepared if a local outbreak was to occur and would enact its action plan after just one case.

“ACT Health would lead the public health response to a local outbreak in a residential aged care facility and support the facility to respond to and control the outbreak, in line with national public health guidelines,” they said.

“A COVID-19 outbreak response would be triggered by a single case of COVID-19 in a resident, staff member or frequent visitor. Decisions on how to manage the public health response to the outbreak will be made by ACT Health in consultation with impacted facilities and other key stakeholders.

“ACT Health is working with facilities to further strengthen infection prevention and control practices, which is key to preventing transmission.”

From late March, ACT Health also advised only two visitors could visit a resident in an aged care facility at one time and anyone looking to enter the facility was required to have the 2020 influenza vaccination.

The ACT Health spokesperson said the department was generally prepared for an outbreak, through its preparations in communications and education through the sector.

“ACT Health has been working closely with key Commonwealth and ACT Government stakeholders, as well as non-government stakeholders who support or work in the residential aged care sector in the ACT for several months to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 entering facilities and to prepare for outbreaks of COVID-19 in this setting,” the spokesperson said.

“This has included education and communications to facilities, scenario planning and learning from aged care facility outbreaks in other jurisdictions. ACT Health has had good engagement from facilities generally throughout the pandemic.”

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