The family of a resident at Sydney aged care facility Newmarch House have claimed they “accidentally” found out their relative tested positive to COVID-19 just 48 hours before her death.
Ann Fahey, 76, reportedly returned a negative result multiple times before testing positive, and on Saturday became the facility’s 14th resident to die from the virus, before a 15th died on Monday.
Her granddaughter Nicole Fahey said her dad mistakenly called the facility last week after speaking to a nurse earlier in the day, but it wasn’t until the latter conversation that he was delivered the news.
“Dad accidentally hit a mobile number and he was calling back the nurse who spoke to him earlier that day. She said ‘oh, I’m not dealing with Ann Fahey anymore. Haven’t you been called yet? She’s positive,” Nicole told Sunrise on Tuesday.
“So we actually found out by accident.”
She said in the lead-up to her “beautiful nan’s” death, she had been “so happy and completely fine”, even telling her sister and friends on Wednesday they needn’t call every day to check on her.
In a post to Facebook on Monday, Nicole wrote that she was “broken” and that she would “fight this and ensure justice is served”.
“There are no words. This should never have happened. I love you so much Nan. I will fight this and ensure justice is served. I will do everything. We have the country & community behind us,” she wrote.
“I am broken and I will never be the same without you.”
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said on Tuesday two new aged care workers had as of 8pm on Monday been diagnosed with COVID-19, while Newmarch House operators Anglicare on Tuesday morning confirmed another case.
The latter worker had operated solely in the facility's coronavirus-positive ward.
The male Newmarch House resident who died on Monday took the NSW death toll to 45, with 37 of the 100-odd residents testing positive to the virus.
Newmarch House implements strict testing measures
Additional screening measures were introduced this week, requiring all staff members to be tested for the virus every day when they arrived for their shift.
"Two new cases were from staff members at Newmarch House and detected as part of the screening process that has been put in place," Dr Chant told reporters on Tuesday.
Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck on Monday said discussions were under way with some Newmarch House residents' family members to remove them from the facility.
He said it could be eight weeks before the facility is coronavirus-free.
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