By Brendan Rees
A Berwick aged care facility has gone into lockdown for at least two weeks after a staff member tested positive to coronavirus.
A spokesperson for the Villa Maria Catholic Home (VMCH) Berwick facility said no residents were showing symptoms of Covid-19 but as a “precautionary measure” the facility had entered a “full lockdown”.
It comes as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported a staff member at the facility had tested positive to the virus on Monday 27 July.
“A staff member, who only works weekends, in a set location and with no resident contact, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday 19 July,” the VMCH spokesperson said. “Staff who were in close contact have been tested and will self-isolate at home for 14 days.
“Due to the increasing number of positive cases within the community, the Department and VMCH are approaching all positive cases with an ‘abundance of caution’,” the spokesperson said.
“Onsite testing of all residents and staff has been organised by the Commonwealth Department of Health and will take place Tuesday 28 July.
“At this stage, no residents are unwell with Covid-19 symptoms. Precautionary measures, including the wearing of face masks and temperature testing for all, have been in place and were well established prior to these incidents occurring.”
Public health officials have been notified of the lockdown and VMCH says its following procedures recommended by the Department of Health and the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia.
The VMCH spokesperson said all residents were being closely monitored and should any signs of ill health appear, VMCH would seek medical attention immediately and inform families.
“VMCH is taking every step as recommended by authorities to contain the spread, implementing health measures that balance care and compassion with protection and caution.”
The lockdown period will be for a minimum of 14 days, with the exact dates determined and advised by the DHHS.
Meanwhile, Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said on Tuesday 28 July said due to the high case numbers of coronavirus emerging at private aged care facilities state-wide, residents would be moved to hospitals across Melbourne.
This will result in all non-urgent category two elective surgery across public and private hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne to be paused.
“We need to ensure we have the beds and staff available if we need to transfer them out of aged care settings,” the Health Minister said.