Important COVID-19 updates

Important COVID-19 Update 23rd July 2022

The road to normal has begun……

Testing on both Thursday 21 July and today 23 July has been promising with no new cases identified on either day.

The revised Public Health Unit advice determines that if you don’t have any symptoms after seven days isolation you are no longer an active case.  We are taking a slightly more cautious view and asking both residents and staff to continue to isolate until they return a negative RAT.  This is because we have seen two very distinct patterns over the past seven months.  They are

  • people recovering in 5-6 days and having no lingering effects of the virus
  • people taking 10-12 days to shake the virus

So whilst the recommendation may be seven days isolation only we are continuing to pursue the original requirement of a negative RAT in order to minimise the risk to our residents.  Given the speed at which the virus was transmitted following three innocuous events (two returned from hospital and one family gathering) we inclined to continue to be cautious rather than have an extended period where residents are kept from their families and friends.

Given the above definitions we now have

  • four active cases
  • a further one resident continues to isolate
  • this means that 18 of the 23 residents who were infected have recovered
  • 22 of 24 staff have now recovered also

This means that we can open all areas to visitors from midday Monday -25th July, except for the five residents who will continue to isolate.  The extra days delay is to allow for a deep clean of the rooms where residents are coming out of isolation in Elm Court and Rose Wing.

  • Staff and contractors will continue to wear N95 masks and shields together with a daily RAT before each shift with the exception of when caring for the five isolated residents when full PPE will be worn.
  • Visitors will be required to
    • Wear N95 masks and face shields.
    • Visit in a resident’s room or in an outside garden area.
    • Unless you have more than one parent in the facility you may only visit one resident per day.
    • Previous measures such as RATs and booking appointments remain in place.
  • Residents in areas will be free to move around and use the common areas including the dining rooms. Once again because the high number of cases in the general community poses a heightened risk to our residents we will continue with second daily testing – this will be reviewed in a fortnight.

Thank you to everyone for their patience and you cooperative spirit over the past few week.  Remember that this is not the end and everyone needs to do their bit and stay away if they are unwell.

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Important COVID-19 Update 19th July 2022

 

Mixed results from today’s testing means that there will be some alterations to the original plan.

Today’s results and the overall situation

  • We have four new cases in the past 24 hours.
  • We have six residents who are on day 8-12 who are still showing positive on RATs but do not have any symptoms. The Public Health Unit advise is – if they are symptom free and have isolated for seven days you are deemed to have ‘recovered’ and not to pose a risk to other residents.
  • We have three residents who having been positive returned a negative RAT late last week only to show as positive today. Once again Public Health Unit advise that these residents are deemed to have ‘recovered’.
  • In total there have been 22 residents from the Residential Aged Care test positive and a number from the Retirement Units.

As a result of today’s advice we have five active Covid cases spread across Elm Court and Rose Wing.  Additionally we have four active cases amongst staff (we’ve had twenty four cases in total).

Moving forward from Wednesday 20th July the following will be in place

  • Resumption normal activity and visitor access to all but Elm and Rose.
  • Staff and contractors will continue to wear full PPE – that is N95 masks; shields and gowns together with a daily RAT before each shift.
  • Visitors will be required to
    • Wear N95 masks and face shields.
    • Visit in a resident’s room or in an outside garden area.
    • Unless you have more than one parent in the facility you may only visit one resident per day.
    • Previous measures such as RATs and booking appointments remain in place.
  • Residents in areas except for Elm and Rose will be free to move around and use the common areas including the dining rooms. Because the risk remains high over the coming week we will resume second daily testing of residents.  The Public Health Unit have also advised that if you have tested positive within the last 28 days you do not need to retest as you should have a level of immunity that will protect you from being reinfected.

To the residents, families and friends of ELM Court and Rose Wing thank you for your patience and understanding.  We will review your situation again on Sunday morning and contact families directly if things can change.  Why Sunday?  Because by then we will have had two additional rounds of testing and if we get the all clear in one or both area we will revert to isolating only the affected residents who will be required to isolate until next Tuesday.

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Important COVID-19 Update 15th July 2022

Today’s news sees us moving in the right direction.

Previously we had hoped that the lockdown would be for one week until Monday 18th July.   Given what has happened during the week we are now looking to re-open on Wednesday 20th July.

So what has happened this week:-

  • Because we were seeing numbers increasing slowly we conducted PCR test on all residents on Monday 11th
  • As a result we discovered a number of residents who were asymptomatic with the virus
  • Monday’s testing increase the total number of residents affected to eighteen – symptoms ranged from none to that of a mild head cold
  • Our regular RATs today identified one additional resident. This resident was a close contact of one of the residents who returned a positive result earlier in the week.

Plans for the coming days:-

  • Tuesday morning will see the all but one resident reach the end of their isolation period
  • RATs will be conducted for all residents on Tuesday morning.
  • Assuming the expected negative results a deep clean will be performed in the rooms of residents who have recovered.
  • Residents will be allowed to mingle, use common areas and return to dining areas at this point.
  • Visitors will be permitted back into the facility on Wednesday morning 20th July 2022.
  • As per previous arrangements all visitors will be required to wear and N95 mask and have a RAT prior to entry (both will be supplied by SPC).
  • We request that if you are unwell you stay away – this request is not restricted to COVID. Please be mindful there are many respiratory viruses together with vomiting and diarrhoea bugs circulating in the general community and will continue to do so until mid-late August.

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Important COVID-19 update 10th July 2022

 

As some of you may be aware SPC has been fighting to contain an increasing number of COVID-19 cases amongst both residents and staff.  This has coincided with and increase number of cases in the wider community.  We know that the virus was introduced as residents returned from hospital and we have been largely able to trace the path of the virus through social groups.  We have been committed to testing as many residents as possible twice a week whilst staff are tested at the beginning of every shift.  What has become obvious is that this level of testing has missed some cases as it generally takes two days to be picked up on a RAT.

The past forty-eight hours has seen an increase in residents testing positive with additional residents showing some signs that they may become positive within the next twenty-four hours or so.  To date we have nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one case of Rhinovirus.  As a result, we have taken the decision to close the facility to all visitors for the next at least the next 7 days.

We are hopeful and will aim to reopen the facility to visitors on Monday 18th July.  Internally resident will be asked to remain in their rooms for the next seven days.  To date residents have only experienced mild symptoms and have had early access to antiviral medication. Staff will be required to wear full PPE during this period.  As of Monday 11th July we expect all but two staff to be back on deck.

The immediate reaction when you receive a message such as this is to wonder if your loved one has been affected.  Please be assured families of all residents who have tested positive and/or who are unwell have been contacted and will continue to be updated.

As with previous restrictions we will have our leisure & lifestyle staff available to assist with zoom calls for those that wish to avail of this opportunity can book a timeslot by calling reception on 3800 9188 or emailing a request for a timeslot to admin@spcagedcare.org.au

We are mindful of both the inconvenience and stress that this decision will cause and thank  you for your cooperation and assistance in minimising the threat to our residents.

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COVID-19 and visiting restrictions to SPC

As of 30 June 2022 vaccination restrictions to vulnerable settings have been eased.  In accordance with this there is no longer a requirement be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter our facility.

There are however some restrictions if you have been diagnosed with COVID and if you are a close contact.  In keeping with the latest directions you cannot visit at SPC if:

  • have COVID-19
  • recently had COVID-19 and it has been 7 days or less since your isolation period ended (unless an exception applies to you)
  • are a close contact, unless in exceptional or compassionate circumstances
  • have recently had COVID-19 test and you are waiting to receive the results (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • have COVID-19 symptoms.

Visitors to vulnerable settings must wear a face mask at all times while at indoor spaces of these vulnerable settings and comply with requirements the facility or service has in place and follow any PPE or protective measures required.

The follow are SPC guidelines and requirements which are required by SPC:-

  • We request that you book your visit or risk significant delays – RAT testing will be supervised and numbers will be limited in each ten minute timeslot
  • Preference will be given to those who book and additional visitors will be asked to wait outside until there is a vacant testing station
  • Bookings can be made between 9:00am and 4:00pm 7 days a week by calling 3800 7188 or emailing admin@spcagedcare.org.au
  • Visiting hours will remain 8:30am -4:00pm.
  • A limit of two visitors per residents at any given time and you must visit in the residents room or outdoor spaces only
  • You will be required to test negative on a RAT test. These can be self-administered however there will be a nursing staff member available to assist and supervise.
  • Masks must be worn at all times – these will be supplied
  • You will need to continue to take your temperature and log-in on Entrytrakr
  • If you are unwell please stay away

Please factor in the extra time it will take to clear reception in your plans. We understand that we are being ultra-cautious however we are walking a fine line between maintaining family relationships and managing a virus that can quickly get out of control. We don’t envisage the testing regime being this arduous for an extended period and hope that once things start to settle in the broader community we can relax the access rules accordingly.

In addition to the above guidelines all staff and contractors are required to RAT test daily at the beginning of each shift.  Resident too are routinely tested twice a week.  Whilst the virus remains prevalent in the community it is important that we all do our part to minimise the risk to our residents.