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New cases in two Sydney nursing homes, disability group home

Published: in Australian News by .

Staff at all three facilities have tested positive to COVID-19, forcing residents and close contacts into strict isolation.

There are growing concerns about fresh COVID-19 outbreaks in two aged care homes and a group home for people with disability in Sydney.

A number of unvaccinated staff at aged care facilities have tested positive, including one at the Palms nursing home in Kirrawee reported last night and two staff members at a Japara aged care facility in Belrose, NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty said.

Another five people at the Unisson Disability group home in Parklea, in Sydney's north-west, have tested positive, including three residents and two staff members.

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"The public health unit has been investigating, making sure other people are tested, isolated and cared for," Dr McAnulty said.

"The workers at the aged care facilities were not vaccinated.

"But the workers and the residents at the disability home had received one dose of vaccine."

The Palms in Kirrawee is in lockdown after one of its employees was diagnosed with the virus late last night.

More than 60 residents at the facility in Sydney's south are now in "strict lockdown" to prevent any further spread.

All visitors and non-essential staff are banned from entering the home until further notice.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we are treating all residents as close contacts of the affected staff member whilst we assess the situation in more detail," the facility said in a statement.

"Staff will be implementing strict infection control measures, and carefully monitoring residents for any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.

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"Residents, and affected staff, will be tested on-site within the next 24 hours."

All residents are currently in isolation awaiting testing with the assistance of the Public Health Unit.

A fence is now in place around the facility, a ring of steel to guard against any unwanted visitors.

"We recognise this is a difficult time for families and friends, but we are committed to providing the latest information and updates, and alternative methods of connecting with their loved ones such as via the CareApp, Facetime, email and phone," operations manager Mathew Hafford said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, in response to the positive cases at the Belrose home, the facility's operator Japara said: "The health, welfare and safety of our residents and staff are our number one priority.

"All staff have been wearing appropriate PPE and adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols. We are staying in close contact with residents' families to ensure they are fully briefed on the situation and providing ongoing support for residents and our staff."

At least half of the staff at the Belrose home have been vaccinated, 9News understands.

It is not currently mandatory for aged care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 however a mandate will be introduced from September 17.

All residential aged care workers will be required to have received a minimum first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by that date.

If you're struggling during this difficult time, there is 24/7 support available via the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-nsw-update-concerns-over-covid19-cases-in-two-aged-care-facilities-and-disability-group-home-belrose-kirawee-unisson-disability-parklea/acf6ce73-2829-4415-98e8-048f61766d00

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