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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Nearly 10,000 COVID-19 cases in aged care, vax rates now to be published online

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As aged care facilities across the country battle COVID-19 outbreaks, with nearly 10,000 people infected with the virus, the Federal Government says older Australians are safer than in the two previous years.

The latest data from the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care reveals there are 9906 active COVID-19 cases in 1064 residential aged care facilities.

Of those, 6360 cases involved residents while 3546 were staff, the data shows.

There have been more than 77,000 COVID cases in aged care residences since the start of the pandemic and 3394 deaths, compared to a national death toll of almost 12,000.

As the country weathers its third Omicron wave, aged care minister Anika Wells has written to her state counterparts about mask-wearing at facilities.

From Monday, vaccination rates for aged care homes will be published online to help drive up fourth dose rates around the country, she said.

“That’s all part of the winter plan that I’ve brought in … to try and make sure that all aged care facilities, all of our older Australians and their families and the aged care workers that look after them, are better prepared than they have been in previous winters,” she told the Nine Network on Monday.

“They are safer this winter than they have been for the previous two years in the pandemics.

“We have new weapons to fight COVID that we didn’t have previous winters.”

Wells said the percentage of eligible aged care residents who had received a fourth COVID-19 dose had jumped from 60 per cent in June to 78.8 per cent.

The public information on third and fourth dose rates would drive further vaccinations in the sector, she said in a statement.

“I strongly encourage aged care providers to continue to organise fourth doses as soon as residents are eligible to ensure they have maximum protection,” she said.

“And we have the antiviral treatments which we have recommended as best practice to be offered to any resident who gets COVID in aged care facilities.

“So hopefully the severity of this is less this time around.”

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