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COVID-19

Confirmed Case at St George's

 

Status

5 August 2020 – updated as at 3.00pm
Benetas is deeply saddened to confirm that another resident with COVID-19 has passed away peacefully last night. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the resident who are no doubt feeling the terrible loss at this time.

As a result of recent testing of all residents, unfortunately we have had another six residents confirmed to have the virus. Two residents were displaying symptoms however four remain asymptomatic. The residents have been moved into the specific Covid-19 area of the home for dedicated care and Registered Nurse oversight. All families continue to be updated daily.

For more information, please see our frequently asked questions.


4 August 2020 – updated as at 3.00pm


UPDATE ON CONFIRMED CASES

Unfortunately, late yesterday we have had an additional two residents who were showing symptoms now return a positive test result to Covid-19. These residents have now been moved to the dedicated Covid-19 section of the home. All residents were tested this morning and we expect to see results come through on Thursday.

All test results have returned from the employee testing on Saturday 1st August and we have had one additional employee test positive. This employee experienced symptoms on Saturday 1st August and last worked in the home on Friday 31st August. The employee is self-isolating and we are contact tracing and advising close contacts to self-isolate and get tested. We have also informed the Commonwealth Department of Health and Victorian Department of Health and Community Services.

3 August 2020 – updated as at 3.00pm

Benetas is deeply saddened to confirm that one resident with Covid-19 has passed away in hospital over the weekend. We send our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of this resident, and acknowledge the tragedy that this virus has caused the entire St George’s and Benetas community. Each and every resident has shown tremendous resilience this past month, as have the family members who have drawn on great strength throughout this outbreak.

Of the residents with Covid-19, two are currently in hospital and five remain in the home. We have created a separate wing for residents with the virus who have dedicated staff and cleaners and a 24Hour Registered Nurse to monitor their health and clinical needs. We have also cordoned off other areas of the home to minimise cross contamination as much as possible.

Testing was arranged for all employees on the weekend with 99 per cent of results returned identifying one more positive case. All residents will be tested on Tuesday 4 of August. Further details are available within our Frequently Asked Questions.


31 July 2020 – updated as at 3.00pm

Sadly following extensive testing on Tuesday 28 July, a total of six residents have been confirmed to have COVID-19, alongside an additional five employees. This take the number of employees confirmed with COVID-19 this week to seven. We have now received all test results back and are arranging urgent retesting of all employees and residents.

The residents and their representatives have been personally contacted and contact tracing of all affected employees is being swiftly undertaken. Once identified they too will be self-isolated and tested.

We are working closely with the Federal and State Departments of Health to respond quickly at this challenging time, and are receiving support from the Western Health Outreach team. This latest news is concerning and disappointing and we continue to work diligently with stringent infection control practices and PPE use in place.


30 July 2020 – updated as at 5.00pm

Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 at St Georges

Unfortunately following extensive testing on Tuesday 28 July, two residents have been confirmed to have COVID-19, alongside an additional two employees. We currently have 94 per cent of the test results back with all others as negative.

The residents and their representatives have been personally contacted the close contact employees are in self-isolation.

We are working closely with the Federal and State Departments of Health to respond quickly at this challenging time. This news is concerning and disappointing and we continue to work diligently with stringent infection control practices and PPE use in place.

25 July 2020 – updated as at 12 noon

ADDITIONAL TWO EMPLOYEES POSITIVE TO COVID-19
Unfortunately, as a result of the extensive testing undertaken, we have had an additional two employees confirmed with COVID-19. We have finalised the contact tracing and all close contacts have been identified and notified. The close contact employees are in self-isolation and we continue to closely monitor all residents for any symptoms.

ALL RESIDENTS TEST NEGATIVE
We are pleased and relieved to confirm that we now have all the results of the residents’ tests from Tuesday 21 July and they are all negative to COVID-19.

We have been advised by the Commonwealth Department of Health that additional testing for close contacts of all three employees (including a second round for the close contacts of the agency employee) is tentatively planned for Tuesday 28 July.


22 July 2020 – updated as at 5pm

VISIT FROM ASPEN MEDICAL
As advised, yesterday we had the Commonwealth Department of Health team from Aspen Medical attend site to complete an audit of our infection prevention and control measures. As part of the audit they have provided us with valuable advice and information for our team.

The representative was very impressed with how proactive we have been and what early intervention measures we have undertaken onsite to mitigate the risk of spread of the virus. We will commence implementing the measures onsite today, some of which are already in place.

Recommendations received in addition to yesterday’s update include:

  • Stringent cleaning requirements for all medical equipment coming in and out of residents’ rooms
  • Donning and doffing areas to be applied to the staff rooms
  • Linen trolleys to be stored in the linen press rooms at all times


21 July 2020 – updated as at 5pm

TESTING UPDATE
All employees and all residents at St George’s were tested today for Covid-19. We were previously advised that testing would occur on Wednesday so we are pleased that it is happened today and will include all employees and residents, not just close contacts.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
We received contact from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) this morning and they confirmed, as presumed, that the infection period of the agency employee is from last Monday 13th to Friday 17th July. We updated DHHS on the work we are doing including testing and they were complimentary of the swift action taken regarding contact tracing and isolation of employees.

In addition we have had the Commonwealth Department of Health team from Aspen Medical attend site today and they are currently doing a complete audit of our infection prevention and control measures and providing us with valuable advice and information for our team.

Recommendations received so far include:

  • Stringent requirements and controls in the communal areas such as the staff room and bathroom
  • Wiping down of all services such as benches, fridges, toilets etc before and after use
  • Minimal personal belongings brought to work


19 July 2020 – updated as at 5pm

FURTHER UPDATE FROM St GEORGE’S

An agency staff member who turned up for work on Friday, July 17, was sent home with symptoms two hours later. Contract tracing of the agency staff member’s movements at St George was completed yesterday. Self-isolation of all close contacts (residents and employees) was implemented within hours.

We do not believe that the July 7 Benetas employee case (see updates below) and Friday’s case are related. This will be further explored by the DHHS as part of the contact tracing process. It is also believed that the agency staff member worked at a non Benetas home in the (Western suburbs), where a COVID outbreak was reported within days of the agency staff member commencing at St George’s. As a precaution, we have taken immediate action and cancelled the use of agency staff at St George’s whilst a formal investigation is underway. We continue to use only Benetas employees for shifts at St George’s. The Commonwealth Department of Health is aware of the need for back-up resourcing and they are working with the Commonwealth’s surge workforce team in earnest to help support our workforce needs at St George’s.

All Benetas employees on site continue to be vigilant in implementing our current additional infection control processes across the home. As such, all residents will continue to be looked after in their rooms until further notice. The Commonwealth Department of Health has confirmed this afternoon that a testing day is scheduled for Wednesday 22 July at the home. All close contacts will be tested, however we’re yet to be advised if anyone else will also be included in the testing.


18 July 2020 – updated as at 3pm

AGENCY STAFF MEMBER WITH CONFIRMED COVID-19

On Friday 17 July, we were advised that an agency employee has tested positive to Covid-19. The agency member arrived at work at 7:30am Friday morning and at 9:30am, they started displaying symptoms and were immediately sent home. We can confirm that the agency staff member worked in the Red House and Apartment 1 and 2 of the Peter Volk Apartments on July 14, 16 and 17. However, over this time the entire St George’s home was already in lockdown, with all residents being cared for in their rooms due to the previous confirmed employee case, reported July 7 (see earlier status reports below).

All residents across St George will continue to be cared for in their rooms for a period yet to be determined by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Public Health unit. In addition residents may need to be retested next week.

CALLS TO THE HOME
We’ve diverted the phones at St George over the weekend which will be answered by our Benetas Customer Centre team. Specific enquiries will be sent back to our St George team and they will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible. Please email covid19enquiries@benetas.com.au if you have further questions.


16 July 2020 – updated as at 2pm

Second round of testing results
We are again relieved to advise that the results of the close contacts tested on Tuesday, that is, those in Apartment 1 and 2, the five employees and those that refused testing during round one, have again come back negative.

Please be aware that nothing changes at the home until we receive advice from the Department of Health and Human Services as to the next steps.

Ongoing Visitor Restrictions remain in place
Unfortunately, once residents are permitted to come out of their rooms, we will not be allowing visitors to our home during the Melbourne Stage 3 “Stay at Home” restrictions. We hope you understand that due to the rising number of cases in Melbourne and particularly in aged care, we believe it is important that we take proactive, preventative action to protect the health and safety of our residents.

You will be able to talk to your loved one however and, as before, we will have measures in place for you to visit for compassionate purposes which will be assessed on an individual basis. Your loved one will also continue to be able to leave and re-enter the home to attend urgent and necessary medical appointments.

Find out more about the restricted visiting program.


14 July 2020 – updated as at 2pm

The second round of testing occurred today at 12pm of all close contact residents in Peter Volk Apartments 1 and 2 including the few residents that refused testing in the first round. The five close contact employees will be tested again today privately off site to support their isolation.

At this point in time we have been advised by DHHS that there is no need to test anyone more broadly. Residents continue to be cared for in their rooms until advised by DHHS.


13 July 2020 updated as at 2:00pm

We have had confirmation from the Department of Health and Human Services that a second round of testing will be done of all close contacts by Wednesday 15 July. Close contact employees will all be tested again tomorrow privately off site to support their isolation. At the time of writing this update, we are still yet to hear confirmation of testing for all remaining residents and employees. We will let you know when we hear.

Infection Control Squad
We have been advised that the infection control squad will be on site over the next day or so to confirm the actions we have taken to protect our community. They will be reviewing the actions we have taken and providing further advice on how we can improve.

We are grateful that we have been able to test our processes and pick up a number of learnings without a full outbreak occurring. We will continue to learn and improve to ensure we protect your loved ones and our employees.

Phone Calls to Residents
As you are aware, over the weekend and today we have switched the reception phone to the customer centre so we can ensure that as many calls are answered as possible. We understand this may have been frustrating that you could not speak to us directly as this time, however our priority was to be able to answers the calls and not have the lines jammed.

We are now in a position to switch back the phones to reception and we will trial this for a period from tomorrow. We ask for your patience and will update you on how this is going.

Again, we would like to reinforce that if you can get your hands on a mobile phone for your loved one, we can then ensure they answer and you can talk to them for as long as you require.

As usual, if you can’t get through you also have the options of emailing covid19enquiries@benetas.com.au if you have any other questions.


12 July 2020 – updated as at 12 noon

We are pleased and extremely relieved to confirm that we have received the results of all tests conducted on Thursday 9 July and all have returned a negative to COVID-19.

It is expected we will be conducting a further test of residents and employees week commencing 13 July, however we are cautiously encouraged by the results at this time.


10 July 2020 – updated as at 9:30am

Unfortunately, despite the rigorous measures we have been putting in place to protect our community, Benetas can confirm that late Tuesday afternoon, we were advised that an employee of St George’s aged care home in Altona Meadows had tested positive to COVID-19.

The employee last worked Friday 3rd July and did not have any symptoms. The employee developed a sore throat late on Sunday 5th July, self-isolated and subsequently tested positive on Tuesday 7th July.

Benetas has been in contact with the State and Federal Departments of Health and they are now completing the process of contact tracing of this employee. The employee continues to isolate at home and we are in regular contact to provide support.

Testing has been conducted for all residents and employees at the home.

In the interests of the health of all in our St George’s community, we will now be moving to caring for our residents in their rooms.

We are increasing employee levels at the home to ensure all our residents are taken care of. Our on-site team are committed to making sure residents are well looked after during this time, and we have arranged avenues for families to connect.

In addition, we have organised for deep cleaning to occur of the entire home today which will continue to be implemented going forward.

The residents’ family members have been advised and we will be updating them regularly as further information comes to hand.

Benetas will continue to be in close contact with the Department and do everything we can to ensure that all our St George’s residents and employees are safe.

For the latest advice, information and resources go to health.gov.au (Federal Government), health.vic.gov.au (Victorian State Government), or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

We sincerely appreciate your support and understanding at this time and assure you that the health, safety and wellbeing of our community is of the utmost importance.