Tuesday 25th August 2020
As a follow up to our recent communication we would like to keep you informed of our planning and our experience so far. At this time, we have had no instances of any residents, family members or staff having contracted the coronavirus, now more commonly referred to as COVID-19. As of yesterday, NSW Health has notified that there are 37 active cases of coronavirus in New South Wales. The majority of these have been locally acquired and brings the current total number of active cases to 2,062. People entering NSW generally will have to obtain an entry permit and comply with the conditions on the permit or specific conditions in the order (e.g. self-isolate for 14 days).
We continue to highly recommend that residents should minimise their trips out into the community at this time, given the level of risk of exposure that now exists. The risk to the elderly remains far greater than the general population. Should you decide to venture out into the community, we recommend that you wear a mask, frequently wash your hands and maintain social distancing.
Any external health support personnel, employed by, or on behalf of residents, may still continue to attend the facility. They will be subject to temperature testing and exclusion if they meet any of the documented exclusion criteria already in force. All bus trips and multi-level get togethers for residents remain in abeyance. We will continue with our current use of Skype and Zoom for communication with relatives and for meetings.
We will continue to accept residents into our care, including those on respite. As the numbers of people with coronavirus in our area in the community are stable, we will be relaxing our restrictions for those on respite only. This is reflective of the need to capture and document the required information about residents and the stress experienced by all people when they first enter an aged care facility. Upon admission residents will either need to have had a swab test for coronavirus, and be negative, or will be tested by us on admission. They will remain in isolation until we receive a negative test result. We will allow them to have a visitor during the respite period for up to 2 hours per day in their rooms, not in communal areas. NSW Health is continually updating their advice & the evolving list of suburbs and local government areas from which people should not visit aged care facilities can be found at the link below.
As part of preparedness planning, we have put in place arrangements to limit staff working, and travelling across facilities. To improve our screening processes, we will also be implementing a checklist that all visitors will need to complete and sign. The checklist is to ensure that anyone who does attend the facility understands the requirements that must be met, and in signing the form acknowledges and agrees that they meet the requirements. Should we have an issue in the future this form will also assist with contact tracing by the Public Health Unit staff.
Chief Operating Officer
Timeline of our COVID-19 communications to residents & families: