“We discussed the matter with the Department of Health this morning and have been told they do not consider this case to be a risk to our residents. This is because she became unwell two days after her last shift. Despite this, I wanted to let you know.”
No residents have tested positive to the coronavirus, but Mr Cohen said Assisi Centre had increased screening and cleaning.
“We were advised yesterday morning that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member was well when last in attendance at work, mid last week,” Mr Cohen told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.
“We contacted the Department of Health and are following their advice that residents and other staff do not require testing as none have symptoms.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely checking resident temperatures regularly during the day,” he said.
Mr Cohen also noted that other measures, such as ban on external visitors and additional cleaning, had been put in place over a week ago and said all residents within the unit remain free of any symptoms.
“We remain concerned for the health and privacy of our staff member. Thankfully they appear to be in good condition despite testing positive,” he said.
In Sydney, four residents of aged care facility Dorothy Henderson Lodge have died from the coronavirus.
The Rosanna aged care worker was the ninth healthcare worker in Victoria to test positive, on top of four staff at Mercy Hospital, three at The Alfred hospital and a Toorak GP. A tenth case involving a doctor who visited a Carlton aged care facility on March 25 was reported on Tuesday.
The Assisi Centre case was the first-known diagnosis at a Victorian nursing home.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was not aware of the case, but said authorities were closely monitoring aged care.
“Certainly nursing homes are a huge risk, we understand the vulnerability of everyone who lives in nursing homes, it’s a closed setting so transmission becomes really difficult to manage,” Dr Sutton told Nine News.
He said aged care staff who feel unwell should immediately self-isolate.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re going to have an outbreak if a staff member has become unwell.”
Assisi Centre specialises in aged care for the Italian community.
‘It doesn’t mean that we’re going to have an outbreak if a staff member has become unwell.’
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton
On March 14, an online update from Mr Cohen said that staff who had travelled to high-risk countries would not be rostered on for two weeks.
“We are suspending external lifestyle activities including visits by the kindergarten children and the men’s choir.”
Rachel is a breaking news reporter for The Age.