Kyabram Free Press

AGED CARE STAFF VAX RATES SOAR

- By Myles Peterson

COVID-19 aged care staff vaccinatio­n rates for the region have improved considerab­ly in the past week, according to data published by the federal Department of Health, placing the Campaspe local government area among the best in the country.

The race to vaccinate aged care staff concludes on September 17 when all staff must be vaccinated in order to work in the industry under an agreement between all states and the Federal Government.

The Department of Health reported last month that less than half the staff at Kyabram District Health Service’s Sheridan facility had received at least one jab. The figure was denied by KDHS chief executive Anne Mcevoy, who said at the time the actual rate was much higher and there was an issue with the reported data.

The published numbers for Sheridan have turned around dramatical­ly, with data now indicating 90 to 100 per cent of staff have received their first vaccinatio­n.

"Kyabram District Health Service thanks the many staff at our Sheridan aged care facility who have come forward and been vaccinated against COVID-19 in recent weeks," Ms Mcevoy said.

"Ninety per cent of our staff have had their first dose or are fully vaccinated, and we are on track to reach 100 per cent by September 17. We’re working to ensure all remaining staff are vaccinated as quickly as possible and we are strictly following all COVID-19 safety protocols."

Kyabram's other aged-care facility, Warramunda, is also showing a 90 to 100 per cent vaccinatio­n rate, the average rate for all Campaspe facilities. The Koraleigh Nursing Home at Tongala is reporting a rate of 80 to 89 per cent.

On Thursday, September 9, Melbourne commercial aged-care operator TLC Healthcare began rapid antigen testing of all visitors to its 11 facilities, in a first for the state.

Rapid antigen testing can return a result within 15 minutes but is considered less reliable than the more familiar PCR tests.

TLC chief executive Lou Pascuzzi said the tests were an extra measure to ensure the safety of its vulnerable population, who were all now fully vaccinated.

"Rapid antigen testing of every visitor to a TLC home is a new concept, and it may take some getting used to, but we see this as an invaluable tool in minimising the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak amongst our very vulnerable residents," Mr Pascuzzi said.

"In the absence of any guidance on how the aged care sector should deal with the challenges of living with COVID-19 come November, TLC will once again be taking the initiative upon itself to implement proactive measures."

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