Staff working at Anglicare Sydney’s Newmarch House will be required to undergo a test for COVID-19 each day before beginning their shift as the death toll at the facility climbs to 14.
The latest death, a 76-year-old woman, was confirmed on Sunday by NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, who also revealed two more staff members had tested positive for coronavirus.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard announced there would now be a “daily testing regime” introduced for every staff member arriving at the Penrith facility, in Sydney’s west.
“I’m asking all the staff to be accepting of what is quite an uncomfortable test... it seems to me from talking to the infectious disease specialists that that’s a really good step that we could take,” Mr Hazzard told reporters on Sunday.
“It might not have been possible in earlier circumstances, but we’ve reached the stage now where most of the staff would hopefully accept that arrangement.”
Dr Chant said results of the daily testing would be available within one day, helping to limit the exposure of an infectious person to residents and fellow staff.
There are now 63 infections linked to the nursing home including 26 staff members and 37 residents since the outbreak on April 11.
“This is a very sad time for the family and a distressing and challenging time for residents and staff as we deal with the impact of this dreadful virus,” Anglicare said in a statement.
The facility was also in talks with residents who did not have coronavirus and their families about alternative accommodation options.
“Of course this is possible, provided there is a good understanding of the risks and precautionary measures that this would involve – for the resident and their families,” Anglicare said.
Infection control specialists have been deployed to the nursing home to review its procedures with the facility also investigating how the new COVID-19 cases came about.
– With AAP
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