NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the low number of confirmed cases was a “very positive result” and “one of the best results we’ve had”.
“We know that these restrictions that we’ve had in place are working,” she said.
A nurse at Sydney Adventist Hospital has also tested positive and an investigation is under way. Close contacts of the nurse have been informed.
Dr Chant said a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Anglicare Newmarch House aged care facility has also grown by two people – a staff member and a resident. It brought the total number of cases at the home to date to 44 –15 staff and 29 residents.
Newmarch House, part of Anglicare’s Caddens Village near Penrith, is NSW’s largest coronavirus cluster after the Ruby Princess ship. The outbreak began when a staff member who later tested positive worked at the facility for six days while infectious earlier this month.
Three residents have died: a 93-year-old man on Saturday, a 94-year-old man on Sunday and a 92-year-old woman on Tuesday.
With 55 staff forced into isolation, the federal government has activated a “surge workforce”, including the deployment of an emergency response team, to support operator Anglicare.
Federal Aged Care and Senior Australians Minister Richard Colbeck on Wednesday said Anglicare would call a resident and family meeting on Thursday.
Representatives from the Department of Health, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, and the Older Persons Advocacy Network will also attend.
The federal government has offered “unlimited workforce support” to Anglicare after 55 of Newmarch House’s staff were taken off rosters due to either contracting or being exposed to the coronavirus, federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on Wednesday.
Additional personal protective equipment has also been provided, in addition to testing services for staff conducted by private provider Sonic.
“We’re really scratching around to have adequate staff there. Today we’re happy we’ve got a good number of RNs (registered nurses), a little short on carers. We have been reaching out to agencies locally,” Anglicare chief executive Grant Millard told ABC TV.
Strict isolation protocols are in place for residents.
Professor Kelly said the outbreak at Newmarch was a “complex situation”, noting testing and repeat testing was ongoing at the facility.
“It really does demonstrate how, if this virus does escape into those vulnerable members of our society, how quickly it can lead to these unfortunate sort of events.”
with Mary Ward and AAP
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