Aged Care Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 5, 2020 10:57 pm

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Australian government had activated the national Coronavirus Emergency Response Plan on the 27th February.

Since it was first reported in December 2019 in mainland China, COVID-19 has broken containment across borders with the majority of cases reported from mainland China. The Australian government is continuously monitoring the situation, as of 4 March 2020, we have 41 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia.

Aged Care Facilities are at Greater Risk?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms can range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may become very ill very quickly. At this time the behaviour of the coronavirus is erratic and does not behave as a regular viral infection. There is evidence that the virus spreads from person to person, most likely through close contact with an infectious person, contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze, or touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or Face.

Rose Wild, General Manager of Home and Community Services said “We know that, like the very young, the elderly are more susceptible respiratory illness outbreak than the broader community given that older people can often have compromised immune systems already”.

McLean Care has processes in place to assess and manage our residents, clients and staff who may have any viral infections, however we are asking the community to abstain from visiting our care facility if you are showing any flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with anyone who has” she urged.

“We ask our regional communities to be prudent when considering visits to their elderly relatives in general. Catching this type of virus is of grave concern for older people, who are highly susceptible to such diseases, and the consequence for them could be dire” said Sue Thomson, CEO McLean Care Those with immune comprised systems such as the pregnant, elderly, those recently fighting a sever infection and children.

From previous experience with other coronaviruses, other categories of people at most risk of serious infection are:
•people with compromised immune systems (e.g. cancer)
•elderly people
•Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
•people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions

•very young children and babies

Prevention Methods Good hygiene can prevent infection and more than ever we all need to be diligent with this. Good hygiene includes:
•Washing your hands often with soap and water
•Using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
•Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching.
• Australia is well prepared and has excellent health systems to deal with this virus.

All areas of the health sector are well informed and actively engaged in the national response. The safety of our residents and clients is our top priority. If you have a family member or friend at one of our residential aged care facilities, please do not visit if you:
• have been to mainland China or Iran in the past 14 days
• have had contact with a person with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the past 14 days.
• Anyone who works in healthcare or residential care and has been to a higher risk country (mainland China, Iran, South Korea or Italy) should not attend work for 14 days since leaving that country.

If you are concerned that you are at risk of carrying coronavirus, please call the Department of Health Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
All our residents family members are kept well informed about their loved ones and all enquires can be directed to 1300 791 660.