Visitors banned as aged care homes go into lockdown

 

Scores of aged care homes across the southeast have been locked down in response to the region's COVID health scare.

Queensland Child Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young ordered all aged care facilities in the Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Logan City, Redland City, Gold Coast City and Scenic Rim be locked down from noon Sunday following the cluster of COVID-19 cases in Brisbane's south.

It follows an active case in a woman who works at the Bolton Clarke aged care facility at Pinjarra Hills, who dined at a Korean restaurant visited by an infected woman who travelled to Victoria and did not go into quarantine afterwards.

No residents there have tested positive while testing of staff continues.

Bolton Clarke Fairview Pinjarra Hills Aged Care, where a worker tested positive. (News Corp/Attila Csaszar)
Bolton Clarke Fairview Pinjarra Hills Aged Care, where a worker tested positive. (News Corp/Attila Csaszar)


"COVID-19 is a serious illness for all age groups, however we do know the risks tends to increase among the elderly, particularly those with other serious health conditions," Dr Young said.

"These restrictions are an important step in helping Queensland respond effectively to this recent outbreak."

She said she was acting quickly as a precautionary measure and it was hoped the restrictions could be listed as soon as possible, should testing over the next week show the cluster had not spread more widely.


"I want to be very clear - these restrictions on aged care facilities are the most effective way of protecting Queensland's most vulnerable people," she said.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said today's announcement follows significant outbreaks in aged care facilities in Victoria.

"Currently there are more than 1,000 active cases relating to outbreaks at aged care facilities in Victoria," he said.

"This is a desperately sad situation, and one in which we must do everything in our power to stop from happening here in Queensland.

"This is the best way we can protect the lives of Queenslanders, including those who are most at risk of serious illness from COVID-19."

The restrictions mean there can be no personal visits, although end-of-life visits will still be permitted.

Anyone entering a facility must wear a single use surgical face mask.

Residents cannot leave the residential aged care facility unless they are receiving health care, attending a funeral or for an emergency or for compassionate reasons.

The residential aged care facility or the Chief Health Officer can provide an exemption for leave for compassionate reasons.

Staff must limit their movements across multiple facilities and pass temperature checks to work on site.

Originally published as Visitors banned as aged care homes go into lockdown


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