Mackay Hospital and Health Services chief executive Jo Whitehead. Picture: Tony Martin
Mackay Hospital and Health Services chief executive Jo Whitehead. Picture: Tony Martin

Strict guidelines remain for aged care facilities

CENTRAL Highlands aged care facilities are taking extra precautions after a nurse at a Rockhampton nursing home tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

While the complete lockdown has been lifted, strict guidelines remain in place at Clermont Multipurpose Health Service Montcler.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jo Whitehead said the health of residents at all aged care facilities was a top priority.

“Residential aged care residents are allowed one visit a day, for no longer than two hours and only two visitors are allowed per visit,” she said.

“Visitors, aged care staff, health workers, volunteers and anyone else entering a residential aged care facility must have the 2020 flu vaccine.

“Our staff are also told not to come to work if they are sick and to get tested if they have symptoms.

“It is our expectation that everyone in the community, staff included, stays home if they are unwell.”

Ms Whitehead said the point to stay at home if sick was strongly reiterated after the news of the positive test was revealed on May 14.

To prevent the spread of the virus to the Central Highlands and other areas, Queensland Health enacted its rapid response plan which included widespread contact tracing and testing of people who had come into contact with the nurse, including staff and the 114 residents at the Rockhampton centre.

A command centre was established by Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service with 20 extra staff provided to North Rockhampton Nursing Centre.

All of the residents and staff have tested negative with the exception of one staff member who was yet to be tested due to being away on leave.

Ms Whitehead said strict visiting guidelines have been enforced to protect elder residents, with other protocols introduced to help them keep in contact with loved ones.

“Additional phone and video calls, letters, postcards and artwork have been popular ways to keep everyone connected and I thank our communities for supporting our aged care residents,” she said.

Members of the public are not permitted to visit a Mackay HHS hospital or aged care facility if they have been asked to self-quarantine due to travel overseas, interstate or close contact with a person who had COVID-19 in the previous 14 days; are under the age of 16 (unless visiting a patient to provide support near the end of their life); the person has a temperature equal to or higher than 38 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection; or if they don’t have an up to date vaccination against influenza.


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