The Australian Government is extending testing and bolstering the supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) throughout residential aged care facilities across Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to further supress COVID-19 infection rates.
To support the Victorian Government, capacity for asymptomatic testing of aged care workers will be extended and an additional seven million P2/N95 respirator face masks will be provided as the Commonwealth continues to help the sector drive down case numbers.
In making the announcement, Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the distribution of additional masks for aged care facilities reinforced the existing health safeguards for residents, workers and families.
“We are committed to ensuring all aged care facilities across the country have access to the critical PPE they require to keep residents and staff safe,” Minister Hunt said.
“To date, we have provided more than 12 million masks and approximately 3.5 million goggles and face shields to Victorian aged care services.”
Urging providers and staff to remain vigilant, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said “the decrease in community transmission in Victoria was cause for optimism.”
“All facilities will be able to request P2/N95 respirator masks to support their delivery of safe care,” Minister Colbeck said.
He said capacity would also be extended to continue to regularly test aged care workers in Victoria.
“In July, we established Mobile Testing Clinics to test asymptomatic staff and residents in residential aged care facilities in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire,” Minister Colbeck said.
“This will be continued by the Australian Government’s dedicated aged care in-reach pathology service that prioritises COVID-19 testing for aged care residents and workers.
“Under the ‘in-reach’ program, more than 152,000 tests at more than 11,000 site visits to almost 2000 residential aged care facilities across Australia have been conducted.”
The Australian Government has already provided further support by funding bulk-billed Medicare tests for asymptomatic Victorian aged care workers which they will continue to take at any time.
This work helps detect areas of community transmission before outbreaks in aged care services occur. To date, more than 10,500 tests have been conducted.