Investigation into possible breaches of coronavirus infection control at Sydney's Newmarch House

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‘We’ve clearly seen transmission that … looks like there’s been breaches in infection control,’ says chief medical officer after fresh Covid-19 cases

New South Wales health authorities are investigating possible breaches of infection control at a Sydney aged care facility at the centre of a coronavirus cluster.

Of the five new COVID-19 cases in the state over the last 24 hours, two were recorded at Newmarch House, where 13 residents have died.

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World news | The Guardian

New South Wales health authorities are investigating possible breaches of infection control at a Sydney aged care facility at the centre of a coronavirus cluster.

Of the five new COVID-19 cases in the state over the last 24 hours, two were recorded at Newmarch House, where 13 residents have died.

Anglicare Sydney, which runs the aged care facility, confirmed the positive tests but said it had “strict procedures and enforced infection control practices” in place.

More than 60 people – 24 staff and 37 residents – at the Penrith nursing home have tested positive to Covid-19 since the outbreak on 11 April.

“We are investigating further as to how this occurred and we continue to work closely with the NSW public health unit on this,” Anglicare Sydney said in a statement on Saturday morning.

“Additional positive cases associated with Newmarch House are very distressing for our staff, our residents, and their families.”

NSW Health has deployed two infection control nurses to the facility to review its procedures.

“We’ve clearly seen transmission that on the surface looks like there’s been breaches in infection control amongst particularly the staff,” NSW chief medical officer, Kerry Chant, said.

“And that’s obviously a concern. There have been some elements where consistent application of infection control practice has not occurred.”

The staff took the tests on Friday after three residents tested positive on Thursday.

The federal aged care minister, Richard Colbeck, said residents were receiving the best possible care supported by the state public health unit.

Newmarch House has been criticised by residents’ relatives for a lack of communication.

“We are further improving our pastoral care for residents and their families by offering access to Anglicare Sydney’s counselling and chaplaincy services as well as continuing the successful window visits between residents and families,” Anglicare Sydney said in the statement.

“Additionally, Anglicare Sydney was relieved to hear that the outbreak of Covid-19 at Dorothy Henderson Lodge has now been dealt with.

“This gives us great hope that we will overcome this devastating virus at Newmarch House.”

NSW’s coronavirus tally has now grown to 3,031 with no new deaths recorded.

The state health minister, Brad Hazzard, said the new five cases came from 8809 tests - the second highest rate of testing recorded across NSW since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr Hazzard also said he had eased restrictions on people attending beauty salons to purchase retail products.

A new coronavirus outbreak has been uncovered in a Melbourne meat processing facility, as authorities warn Victoria’s progress in fighting the pandemic remains “incredibly fragile”.

Seven new cases have been confirmed in Victoria, bringing the state’s total to 1371.

The state health minister, Jenny Mikakos, on Saturday revealed eight staff at a meat processing facility had tested positive to Covid-19, including three overnight.

She declined to name the business or provide further details about its location, saying it had been closed, all staff tested and there was no risk to food safety or the broader community.

“The fact that we’ve had seven new cases overnight does demonstrate that the situation is still incredibly fragile,” Mikakos told reporters.

All but 71 patients who have contracted the virus in Victoria are recovered. More than 140 of the total cases indicate community transmission, which means patients have not been overseas or in contact with another confirmed case.

Harsh restrictions on social gatherings and movement are beginning to ease across some states. But Victoria is not expected to relax its measures to curb the spread of coronavirus before 11 May.

Victoria police doled out 30 fines in the past 24 hours, including to seven people gathered for a birthday party and others busted for drug offences.


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