HealthThree SummitCare residents among 16 new local Covid cases in NSW as Gladys Berejiklian says case numbers pleasing
Two-thirds of staff working at a Sydney aged care facility in the midst of a Covid outbreak are unvaccinated, SummitCares chief operating officer has confirmed, as New South Wales recorded a pleasing 16 local cases.
Three aged care residents at the SummitCare Baulkham Hills facility in Sydneys north-west tested positive on Saturday night, while two staff members were infected last week.
The infected residents a woman and man in their 80s and a man in his 90s have since been moved to Westmead hospital as an infection control precaution. All three were fully vaccinated and none have become unwell or are displaying symptoms.
Australia Covid live news update: NSW reports 16 local cases; three residents positive at Sydney aged care home
The facility has been placed into a 14-day lockdown. So far the other 149 residents have tested negative. Some 96% of residents were fully vaccinated.
The outbreak has once again put the federal governments sluggish vaccine rollout in the spotlight especially for aged care staff who were meant to be prioritised.
SummitCares chief operating office, Michelle Sloane, confirmed only one-third of the staff at the facility had received their vaccinations.
At this time, it is my understanding that about a third of our staff are vaccinated, she said on Sunday.
Michelle Sloane, the chief operating officer of SummitCare in Baulkham Hills, is seen at the premises on Sunday. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
The federal opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, said that fact was another reminder of this governments incompetence when its comes to the rolling out of the vaccine.
While there are now plans to ramp up the vaccination of SummitCare staff on-site, Sloane said this would need to wait until the end of the current outbreak as a large number of the regular staff had been forced into isolation and the facility could not afford to have more people off sick from potential vaccine side-effects.
We have had to furlough at least 70% of our registered nurses it is my understanding basically we have no staff left there. They are all surge workforce, Sloane said.
She confirmed no employees had worked across multiple facilities and said it was her understanding that at least one of the infected workers was not vaccinated. I think one of them wasnt vaccinated. But I dont have confirmation on that.
Sloane described the federal government deadline to have all aged care workers vaccinated with at least one dose by September as logistically the best we can hope for.
NSW reported 16 locally acquired cases on Sunday, more than halving Saturdays high of 35. The premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said 13 of the new cases had spent their entire infectious period in isolation.
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One was in partial isolation, and only two were infectious in the community. So we are seeing numbers go the right way. But I do say cautiously that that could still bounce around, Berejiklian said.
Although she declined to give a definitive answer on whether the current lockdown could be extended past next Saturday, she sounded more optimistic than previously.
We know in a perfect world, if 100% of people did everything we asked them to do, that we would have a situation where we could see us coming out of the lockdown in a timely way. And we want to see that happen.
Victorias health minister, Martin Foley, said on Sunday the states Pfizer rollout would be cut by 20% in the coming weeks due to a reduction in supplies from the federal government.
At the same time, we see an uptick in allocations for NSW, and while we wish them every success of course … what we are concerned about is that there is a clear appetite for Victorians to get vaccinated, he said.
Foley seemed optimistic there were more vaccines in the pipeline, however.
There are discussions this week with the commonwealth led by Ltd Gen [John Frewen] starting to plan and deliver the promised increases in vaccines, particularly the Pfizer … in coming weeks, he said. We are hopeful that those conversations will be fruitful.
Victoria recorded its fourth day of no locally acquired cases on Sunday as it downgraded previously locked-down areas of Western Australia and Queensland from red to orange, effectively reopening the borders to travellers as long as they had a valid permit and isolated upon arrival until they received a negative Covid test result.
Queenslands leaders were also upbeat during the sunshine states Covid update on Sunday.
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Parts of Queensland are now out of lockdown as contact tracers fight outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta strain and the Alpha strain. The state reported only one new local case a close contact who was already in isolation.
The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said while the state was not entirely out of the woods, Sundays figures were excellent news.
It appears everything is under control at this point in time so we are very, very relieved about that, she said.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk: It appears everything is under control. Photograph: Darren England/AAP
The states leadership was confident enough in the situation to allow Sunday afternoons NRL match between the Broncos and Sharks to go ahead at Suncorp Stadium without crowd restrictions.
The chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, noted a previously reported case, a worker at Brisbanes domestic airport, was a false positive. But she was awaiting further tests on another close contact of a case who could be positive.
Palaszczuk reminded people in areas locked down to keep wearing masks. From Friday it will be mandatory for everyone to use the Queensland check-in app when they visit businesses, including restaurants and bars, cafes, shopping centres, salons, gyms, stadiums, theme parks and universities.
Western Australia recorded one case overnight but the premier, Mark McGowan, confirmed it was a household contact of a previous case, in isolation for their infectious period, and did not pose a risk to the community.
The Northern Territory, ACT and South Australia all recorded no local cases on Sunday.
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