ABC News online has reported that the Wyoming Nursing Home outbreak has grown to 20 cases, and an infected nurse at the Summer Hill centre also worked at multiple nursing homes.
NSW Health has confirmed that 18 residents and two staff members at the home have now tested positive.
According to the state’s chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant, the positive patients are all in hospital and the remainder of residents on the top floor of the facility were being hospitalised as a precaution.
Thirty-two of the centre’s 61 residents are now in hospital.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the dramatic increase in infections were the result of a Christmas in July “superspreading event” in the facility.
“Sometimes it is not a good idea to have a Christmas in July right in the middle of a pandemic but I do understand that it is an effort to try and provide entertainment and to support to residents and those things have to be decided by the aged care facilities,” Hazzard said in yesterday’s daily NSW Covid update.
A spokesperson for Hardi Aged Care refuted Hazzard’s ‘Christmas in July’ claim to ABC News online.
“The NSW Government said today that a Christmas in July function was held in our home and that may have caused the positive cases,” the spokesperson said.
“To clarify, a normal lunch was held for our residents but with Christmas decorations and some carols played to them on our speaker.”
Chant told gathered media a “large number” of other facilities, including St Hedwig Retirement Village in Blacktown, had been affected after a Wyoming nurse worked across aged care centres.
She said authorities were working with the Commonwealth to ensure that staff stopped moving across multiple facilities.
“We are working with the Commonwealth to ensure that that procedure … where staff do not move across multiple facilities, is firmly in place,” Chant said.
The outbreak, health authorities said, again highlighted the importance of vaccination in aged care facilities.