You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Victoria coronavirus response boosted by first Australian Medical Assistance Team personnel as cases in aged care continue to rise

ABC News logo ABC News 29/07/2020
a person wearing a pink flower: Luisa Staffieri, 92-year-old resident at Epping Gardens aged care home who had tested positive for COVID-19 on July 29, 2020, as an outbreak gripped the home in Melbourne's north. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC Health Luisa Staffieri, 92-year-old resident at Epping Gardens aged care home who had tested positive for COVID-19 on July 29, 2020, as an outbreak gripped the home in Melbourne's north. (Supplied)

Jim and Peter Staffieri found out their 92-year-old mother Luisa in the Epping Gardens nursing home tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday morning.

They waited outside the nursing home for hours until they saw her taken to hospital in an ambulance on Wednesday night.

"We're just so happy to see her — because we don't know when we'll see her again," Peter said.

She waved to her sons and spoke to them briefly, from a distance, before the ambulance drove away.

The Epping Gardens nursing home in Melbourne's north is among the worst-affected aged care coronavirus clusters in the state, with about 61 residents and 22 staff infected.

Thirty-four residents were transferred out of the Epping Gardens nursing home on Tuesday, and more residents were taken to hospital yesterday.

Peter said he was glad to see his mother transferred out of Epping Gardens because he had "no confidence" she would get the care she needed in the home.

"At least in the hospital she'll get the care that she needs, I think it would be too late if she got sick here," he said.

Luisa is just one of many aged care residents being moved to hospital as the number of coronavirus deaths continue to rise.

Of recent deaths connected to aged care, 11 were linked to St Basil's in Fawkner, two were linked to Epping Gardens, and one was linked to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth.

Victoria is working to contain 87 outbreaks at aged care homes, which have claimed more than a dozen lives in the past few weeks.

'SAS of the medical world' arrive in Victoria to help fight growing coronavirus outbreaks

Meanwhile, the first Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) personnel, usually sent to overseas disaster zones, will start work in Victoria today.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt dubbed the assistance teams the "SAS of the medical world" last weekend.

"They have assisted with quarantine, they have assisted in Western Australia, they have assisted in activities around the country and they are the best of the best," he said.

Five AUSMAT senior expert nurse leaders are being deployed to Victoria from other states, and two Victorian-based specialist logisticians will be deployed in support of the nurse deployment and Aged Care Response Centre.

A spokesperson from the Federal Department of Health said more than 450 temporary workforce surge staff had been deployed to providers experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria to date.

The Federal Government is also supplying 500,000 reusable face shields for staff in aged care services across Victoria, and releasing a further 5 million face masks from the National Medical Stockpile for aged care providers.

Peter Staffieri said he was glad the Federal Government was sending health workers in to help.

"Let's hope they clean it up and it gets better now," he said.

Premier Daniel Andrews renewed his plea for people experiencing any coronavirus symptoms to stay home and get tested, saying the spread of the virus was being fuelled by workplace outbreaks.

All employers are now required to immediately notify WorkSafe once they become aware that an employee, contractor, or contractor's employee has tested positive to the virus and has attended the workplace during the infectious period.

[Hearken embed]

More from ABC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon