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Premier criticises high tea party with no PPE at Melbourne aged care

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Premier Daniel Andrews has criticised an aged care facility in Melbourne’s east for allowing staff to remove their PPE during a centre high tea party.

Premier Daniel Andrews has criticised an aged care facility in Melbourne's east for allowing staff to remove their PPE during a centre high tea party.

Video has emerged of the event, inside AdventCare Whitehorse in Nunawading, where staff and residents were seen dancing and mingling closely together last week.

Staff were not wearing masks during a musical performance, which was believed to be held in honour of an employee.

AdventCare CEO David Reece earlier defended the party inside the facility, telling Today no outsiders were involved, just those who lived or worked at the aged care home.

Mr Reece told Today he was comfortable with how the event played out.

But Mr Andrews made it clear he did not think the removal of personal protective equipment was appropriate.

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"I am not here to quarrel with the CEO of that facility, but I have seen comments from him talking about the fact that it was a closed event and only people who lived there and work there were involved but, frankly, staff do not live there, they live in the community and we have community transmission so I do not know that is the best rebuttal," he said today.

"We all have to be vigilant and aged care is and will remain for the foreseeable future a high-risk environment."

Coronavirus: Victoria records 11 new cases, two deaths

Police told Today they had not received any formal complaints about the event inside the aged care facility.

There have also not yet been any COVID-19 cases identified in connection with the facility.

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In a statement, AdventCare Whitehorse said staff put their PPE back on immediately after the performance ended.

"As part of the afternoon activity a few of the staff put on a brief dance routine for the residents who were seated at their tables," the statement read.

"AdventCare maintains appropriate use of PPE at all times and all staff wore masks at the afternoon tea. During the brief dance routine, the dancers did not wear masks, but they put them back on as soon as they had finished."

Mark Lobosco told 9News his 93-year-old grandmother lives at the facility and he is furious her health was put in jeopardy by the party.

"(It's) extremely irresponsible and shocking to be honest, thinking they're in the best hands they could be in," he said.

"If someone does become COVID-positive there's blood on (Mr Reece's) hands literally.

"He needs to be stood down."

Mr Andrews warned aged care facilities were "very risky places" with majority of the state's COVID-19 deaths linked to outbreaks in aged care.

He said there were "underlying risks" in private aged care, but its operation was outside the Victorian government's jurisdiction.

"We do not run those places. I do not pay the staff, they are not accountable to me, but we will be checking and monitoring and making sure every aged care facility is as safe as possible," he said.

"When the second wave is over, the virus will still be there, bubbling away and even one case in aged care facilities can be tragic."

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Source: 9News

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