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Infected worker sparks aged care lockdown in WA

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A Perth aged care facility is in lockdown after an employee returned to work for several days following overseas travel and was then diagnosed with coronavirus.

Three healthcare workers returned to work in Perth after contracting coronavirus overseas, with one of them completing several shifts at an aged care facility before prompting a lockdown.

An Aegis Aged Care Group spokesman told AAP the man worked at a transition facility in Bayswater before returning positive test results.

He was among 10 cases confirmed on Monday, when the facility was close to its capacity of 30.

READ MORE: Coronavirus live updates: Government urges Australians overseas to return home as soon as possible

"We are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that all relevant tracking is taking place for all who may have had any contact with the staff member," a company statement read.

"No other Aegis facility is affected by this single COVID-19 case and we are maintaining our already strict infection control protocols."

The spokesman said no residents were currently showing any symptoms.

The two other infected healthcare staff work at Joondalup Private Hospital, and state health minister Roger Cook said operator Ramsay Health Care would comment further.

In a statement, Joondalup Health Campus deputy chief health executive Amanda Ling said she was aware one staff member from its maternity ward had tested positive after returning from an international holiday.

Joondalup Private Hospital

The person was sent home to self-isolate but was later admitted to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

All 19 workers were immediately sent home to self-isolate, while three of the patients were discharged and are in home isolation.

One patient remains in hospital, is isolated and is being appropriately cared for, she said.

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All private maternity patients have been relocated while the ward is cleaned.

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Meanwhile, special testing arrangements have been introduced for healthcare workers with fever or flu-like symptoms.

Three new cases were confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 31.

None of the cases have been locally transmitted, and one remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Meanwhile, West Australian Premier Mark McGowan is resisting calls to close interstate borders by WA's Tertiary Hospitals Medical Leads Advisory Board.

"These are national decisions to be made by the national cabinet. I'll raise that issue ... but we're not at that point," he told reporters.

"If you have states doing their own thing and creating panic in the community, it's not going to help anyone.

"We need to act calmly and rationally."

Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller applauded the doctors, saying were bravely speaking out given community spread of the disease on the east coast.

WA's chief health officer Andrew Robertson said the state would experience community transmission in coming weeks.

"What is apparent is we are on the cusp in this outbreak," Dr Robertson said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How close are authorities to developing a vaccine?

Department of Health director-general David Russell-Weisz said the state had spot-purchased testing kits since a supply disruption last week and currently had 19 days' worth.

He warned of possible delays to non-essential surgery to free up hospital capacity.

Mr McGowan also resisted calls to close schools and shut down parliament, which would be an "absolute last resort".

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He also called on banks and landlords to "be kind" to those suffering financial difficulty, and urged local government to freeze rates for at least the next year.

The state government introduced a bill to parliament on Tuesday to ensure financial supply can continue if the 2020-21 state budget is delayed due to COVID-19.

You can find more information about the international coronavirus outbreak from the World Health Organisation and

Source: 9News

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