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COVID-19 outbreaks sweep across aged care facilities in NSW

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COVID-19 cases are climbing in aged care facilities in New South Wales and this has raised concerns about staff shortages and infection control, according to The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

Roughly 65 aged care homes in NSW are currently managing coronavirus outbreaks, including 27 facilities that have two or more active cases and four homes where at least a dozen residents and workers have been infected.

St Basil’s Lakemba and Uniting Lillian Wells North Parramatta aged care facilities have reported more than 20 cases in residents in each home.

Bupa Clemton Park, an aged care home in Sydney’s south west, has also confirmed there were 38 COVID-positive residents at the facility and 25 infected staff.

Aged care facilities in Sydney are continuing to lock down in response to virus outbreaks. Photo: Alamy.

Dimitrios Kapelaris’ COVID-positive father has been in lockdown in his room at the Bupa nursing home since December 22 and he expressed his concern to the SMH that positive residents were remaining at the facility.

“There seems to be ongoing transmission without any sense that it is under control,” Mr Kapelaris said.

A Bupa spokesperson said it had been assigning staff from certain parts of the facility to attempt to reduce transmission within the facility.

These outbreaks come at the same time that the aged care workforce in NSW has come under increasing pressure.

Three unnamed aged care workers from NSW told The Guardian that many workers are experiencing burnout, with some pulling 16-hour shifts to cover gaps in the workforce.

One worker at a regional facility in the state’s north said six staff had quit due to low pay and burnout, leaving them woefully unprepared in the event of an outbreak.

The national president of the Health Services Union, Gerard Hayes, said he believed the situation was going to get “dramatically worse” over the next few weeks.

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