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Confirmed Case at St George's
15 October 2020 – updates as of 5pm
We are very pleased that after two weeks of implementing the Victorian Government’s requirements under Active Surveillance, this precautionary period has now ended with no further suspected cases at our home. During this time, the team have worked hard to closely monitor all residents for the early onset of symptoms, practiced vigilant infection prevention and control measures, and undertook daily recordings of all residents’ physical health supporting rehabilitation where required.
We are pleased to advise that the last St George’s resident to be treated for COVID-19 at hospital has now fully recovered and returned to the home following the Department of Health and Human Services’ clearance. We also have a number of residents who were on social leave now returning to the home and joining others in communal living.
St George’s will now return to Benetas’ wider COVID-Safe measures that are in place across all our residential aged care homes. Again we appreciate the resilience and support that all residents and their loved ones have displayed during this time. We further extend our sincere thanks to all employees also who have worked tirelessly these past months.
28 September – updates as at 5pm
As of midnight Saturday 26 September, the Department of Health and Human Services has officially stood down St George’s aged care home as an outbreak. With this wonderful news, the home was permitted to move to Active of Surveillance.
While this phase involves a number precautions that will be managed over the coming 14 days, this is a pivotal step to enabling residents to reengage in communal living. We are incredibly grateful to reach this point and support all residents to partake in communal dining, group activities, and enjoy each other’s company in the courtyard and shared spaces once again.
All affected employees have now fully recovered and we are very pleased to have a full team back at St George’s. Words cannot express the dedication and commitment that our team at St George’s have brought to the home throughout this period. We wish to thank all residents, families and the whole St George’s team for their unwavering perseverance and resilience enabling us to reach this important stage.
16 September - ST GEORGE’S RESIDENTS ON PATH TO ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE PHASE
We are very pleased to report that all results from St George’s 14th round of all resident and employee testing have returned negative as of yesterday. This is a long-awaited result for everyone at the home, and importantly, it puts St George’s on track to reinstate communal living by the end of the week, Saturday 26 September.
As advised, this next stage of outbreak management, known as ‘Active Surveillance’, will enable all residents to be able to partake in communal dining and living once again. The Department of Health and Human Services has strict criteria to be eligible for this stage. The team at St George’s are working very closely with Government representatives to ensure that the home is doing everything possible to get us to this phase and meet Department of Health and Human Services’ strict criteria on this.
In the meantime, Lifestyle Coordinator, Charles Mei, and the team continues to facilitate themes for the week and a range of wellbeing activities for residents including one-on-one time, music and art therapy, video-calls with family members, and increased allied health services. Pastoral care support also continues to be extended to all family members who have lost a loved one during the outbreak through their grieving.
16 September - updates as at 5pm
We are saddened to report that a resident who was transferred to hospital on Saturday 12 September has returned a positive test to Covid-19. While their test result from Saturday returned negative, the following test on Monday 14 September has unfortunately returned positive.
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has advised that the resident’s likely last infectious exposure period was from Saturday 12 September, the day that they were transferred to hospital. Resident and employee testing will proceed for Friday 18 September as previously planned, however this has pushed back St George’s potential eligibility for Active Surveillance by five days to Saturday 26 September.
All of us at St George’s are very saddened by this development and we are continuing to work closely with DHHS to ensure that the necessary steps are taken with the interests of St George’s residents at the forefront of all decisions made.
14 Sept – updates as at 5pm
We are pleased to report that all residents with Covid-19 have now recovered and received clearance from Department of Human Services and Health (DHHS). This is a long awaited result and wonderful news for the entire St George’s community.
We are following DHHS new criteria to move to ‘Active Surveillance’. As mentioned below, this is an important step that will enable St George’s residents to re-convene in communal dining and participation in communal life.
The St George’s team has fully prepared the home with deep cleaning and furniture arrangements in place. The next step involves the retesting of all residents and employees on 18 September, that is Day 11 since the last resident was eligible for clearance.
We are also very pleased to welcome back some 90 per cent of Benetas employees to St George’s home to provide ongoing care to all residents after the recovery and self-isolation required.
8 September – updated as at 5:00pm
We are pleased to announce that the results from the last two rounds of all resident and employee testing have returned negative. This is a notable development for the outbreak as it clears the 14 day incubation period since the last case was acquired.
The St George’s team are now progressing towards managing the outbreak with what is known as ‘active surveillance’. While this requires further steps and approval to be taken with the Department of Health and Human services, it will importantly enable residents to return to communal living and dining again.
This has been a long awaited development, and we are very grateful to all residents, their family members and the wider community for their support and resilience during this incredibly difficult time.
3 September – updated as at 5:00pm
Benetas is deeply saddened that two more residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 at the time of their passing. One of whom was in palliative care prior to the point of contracting the virus. Our deepest sympathies go out to the loved ones, fellow residents and the staff who care for them. It is a great loss that will be felt across the home.
The 11th round of resident and staff test results have returned, and all results are again negative. Given it has been ten days since the last acquisition of Covid-19 by an employee, the Department of Health have requested the 12th round of testing for this Saturday 5 September.
We continue to have sufficient PPE and staffing, and are pleased to welcome back a number of our employees to the home as the Department of Health and Human Services clears them for work. We continue to draw on all resources we have available at this difficult time, and thank the tremendous resilience of all those involved.
28 August 2020 – updated as at 5:00pm
We are relieved to advise that all residents and employees were tested for Covid-19 on Wednesday and all results have come back today as negative. We are quietly confident that we are seeing a slowing down of the transmission of the virus but will need to see a few more negative test results to confirm.
We would like to again thank all of our residents, their representatives, and our employees for their incredible resilience during this really challenging time. We would also like to thank the community more broadly for its continued offers of support.
24 August 2020 – updated as at 5:00pm
All residents were tested on Saturday, which was their ninth round of testing and all results have returned negative. This is a great relief to everyone involved. Employee testing yesterday has resulted in one employee being found to be positive for Covid-19.
We are also pleased that we now have 14 residents meeting the Communicable Diseases Network Australia criteria for clearance of the virus with just five active cases of Covid-19 now in the home.
At this point in time, with employees cleared of Covid-19 and returning to work as well as support from the Commonwealth national surge workforce, our staffing levels continue to be higher than normal to ensure the delivery of appropriate care and to allow staff sufficient time to effectively utilise PPE.
20 August 2020 – updated as at 5:00pm
We have recently tested all employees and all residents and unfortunately we have had another five residents test positive to the virus, all from within the Green and Red Houses. All employee results however came back negative from the weekend with further results pending. As we know, the incubation period can be anywhere from 2 – 14 days which is why we continue with regular testing.
Pleasingly, we have six residents recovered from Covid-19 as per the Communicable Diseases Network Australia criteria and these residents have been transferred back to their rooms.
Today we have had an independent Principal Infection Prevention and Control consultant on site today to review all of our practices and provide additional advice on any room for improvement with our infection prevention and control measures. The overall feedback was very positive with only minor improvements suggested.
This review has been undertaken in addition to reviews from DHHS, Commonwealth Aspen Medical, AUSMAT and Healthcare Australia Infection Control and Prevention Consultant.
16 August 2020 – updated as at 5:00pm
With support and escalation from the Commonwealth, the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre is providing a team to assist at the home for a two week period commencing today.
In addition, we are pleased to report that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has cleared a number of Benetas employees who have recovered from the Covid-19 virus and are fit for return to work. We will be contacting each employee over the course of today to discuss their return to work arrangements.
The virus continues to remain contained in the Red House and Green House and we are hopeful that we are now seeing a slowing down of the transmission of the virus. More testing will be required to provide any certainty on this however.
13 August 2020 – updated as at 5:00pm
We are extremely saddened to confirm that two residents with Covid-19 peacefully passed away yesterday. This is an extremely difficult time and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved. Both residents were much loved and will be sorely missed by our St George’s community.
We continue to test residents every 72 hours and, sadly, have found further cases of transmission of the virus. Those that have tested positive have been immediately moved to a specific area of the home to receive dedicated care including Registered Nurse care oversight. Deep clean including bio-misting continue across the home. We also continue to review processes to ensure every effort to support containment of the virus is being stringently implemented.
We will not rest until this virus is out of our home.
10 August 2020 – updated as at 5.00pm
All residents in the St George's home were tested on Friday 7th August and all employees were tested on Saturday 8th August. Sadly, we have had an additional five residents and five employees test positive to the virus over the weekend. Unfortunately, with an incubation period of up to 14 days it can take time to really understand the extent of the spread in the home and for the current measures in place to take effect. In addition, four of the five employees were not displaying any symptoms and were not aware they had the virus until they received a positive result from the routine testing. The positive results remain from the Red House and Green House, so thankfully the virus maintains its containment to these two areas of the home and has not spread more broadly.
We continue to have regular meetings with the Commonwealth Department of Health and State Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. We are also receiving on-site support from Aspen Medical and the Victorian Public Health Unit as well as the Western Health Outreach team
This is an extremely challenging time for all involved and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to our residents, employees and our residents representatives for their incredible resilience and support during this time
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.
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. 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 Human 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.
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 the home.
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 and 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.
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.
21 July 2020 – updated as at 5pm
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 has happened today and will include all employees and residents, not just close contacts.
We received contact from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) this morning and they confirmed the infection period of the agency employee. 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.
19 July 2020 – updated as at 5pm
Contact 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
On Friday 17 July, we were advised that an agency employee has tested positive to Covid-19. 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.
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.
16 July 2020 – updated as at 2pm
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.
As before, we will have measures in place for visits for compassionate purposes which will be assessed on an individual basis. Residents will also continue to be able to leave and re-enter the home to attend urgent and necessary medical appointments.
14 July 2020 – updated as at 2:00pm
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.
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.