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Aged care homes battle COVID-19 outbreaks as Tasmania records 1,812 new cases

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Across Tasmania, more than a dozen aged care homes are battling COVID-19 outbreaks as infections continue their upward trend in the state.

More than 1,800 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the state during the last reporting period, the highest daily total since April.

As of noon Monday, a total of 15 aged care homes were dealing with outbreaks.

At one such home – the Lyell House residential aged care facility at West Coast District Hospital in Queenstown – 10 residents and 10 staff have tested positive for the virus.

Emily Shepherd of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation said some staff have had to work 12-hour shifts to cover staff shortages due to the outbreak.

“Some of our members have taken extra shifts, some have taken on higher roles to ensure there is superior oversight and support for the site,” she said.

“For a small site and for a small community, there’s not a lot of staff to fall back on.”

Acting state health commander Dale Webster said an outbreak management team is meeting regularly to monitor the situation.

“Members of the public should be reassured that it is safe to travel to the Emergency Response Unit and Outpatient Department as needed. The Sub-Acute Care Department has been temporarily closed, in because of the management of staff levels,” he said.

“All areas of the hospital are operating in accordance with COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures.”

An outbreak in an aged care facility is declared if two or more residents are diagnosed with COVID-19 and are on-site at any time during their infectious period or if five or more staff members test positive within 72 hours one of the other.

The number of virus patients in public hospitals across the state stands at 100 for the first time in the pandemic, with 29 being treated specifically for COVID-19 and two people in intensive care with the virus.

Tasmania also recorded one new COVID-related death, bringing the total number during the pandemic to 102.

“If you go to the supermarket, put on your mask”

Launceston General Hospital and North West Regional Hospital remain at level three of their COVID-19 management plans.

There are restrictions on visits, elective surgeries have been reduced and relevant departments have been closed.

Sue Leitch of the Council of the Aging Tasmania said the rising number of cases and outbreaks in healthcare settings were no surprise.

“There may have been a degree of complacency that has seeped into the general community about the cases because the public health emergency period has ceased,” Ms Leitch said.

“The more it spreads in the community, the more likely it is to enter hospitals and elderly care [home].”

Ms Leitch said she would like to see more people wearing face masks again to limit the spread.

“If you go to the supermarket, put on your mask, keep a little distance between you and the queue. It’s the same message, but I think we tend to forget them,” she said. declared.

“Everyone has a role to play in reducing transmission.”

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Australians over the age of 30 will be eligible for the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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