Aged care residents should not be pulled out of nursing homes because of coronavirus concerns, the federal government says.
Health Minister Greg Hunt told Today the aged care industry offers the safest environment for the elderly after a 95-year-old female nursing home resident became the second coronavirus fatality in Australia.
"I see what has happened in this particular case and, whilst I understand the concerns … I think this is a very important thing to note, we have a very, very clear and well-prepared coronavirus emergency plan," he said.
He advised relatives of elderly people in care against pulling them out into the wider community.
"For children who have older parents in aged care homes, that remains the safest circumstance for them because they're under care, they're under management," Mr Hunt said.
He said the aged care industry had expertise and experience in combating infections and caring for the 200,000 elderly people in homes.
"Aged care homes deal with infection control because every year they face flu seasons and that is one of their areas of expertise," Mr Hunt said.
The national peak body for non-profit aged providers - Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) - said it is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and taking advice from health experts.
"Aged care providers are experienced in disease control measures because we are dealing with vulnerable groups every day," ACSA chief executive Patricia Sparrow told Nine.com.au.
"Aged care providers are continuing to take advice from government and health authorities at state and federal level on the evolving coronavirus situation and will update our protocols and processes, including any lockdown requirements, as necessary based on their advice."
Ms Sparrow will attend a special meeting in Canberra tomorrow with the Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner to discuss coronavirus and aged care.
"We are continuing to work with authorities and this meeting is another important step in the sector and government coming together for the protection of older Australians and the 350,000 strong wonderful aged care workforce," she said.
ACSA has reminded relatives and friends of aged care home residents to be extra careful when visiting nursing homes and stay away if they're unwell.
The 95-year-old woman who died in a Sydney hospital last night after developing a respiratory illness was confirmed to have had coronavirus.
An 82-year-old aged care resident from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge at Macquarie Park, where the 95-year-old woman had previously been, was also diagnosed with the virus yesterday.
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The male resident is being treated in hospital. A 50-year-old aged care nurse who had been treating the man remains in hospital after testing positive to COVID-19.
Australia recorded its first coronavirus death on Sunday after a 78-year-old Perth man succumbed to the illness.
Retired travel agent James Kwan died peacefully in the intensive care unit at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital after contracting the virus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/health/coronavirus-health-minister-greg-hunt-elderly-stay-nursing-homes-second-death-australia/fdebc7a4-070e-4223-81f5-26995cc6d111