Another resident has died at the western Sydney nursing home at the centre of a coronavirus cluster, bringing the total deaths linked to the facility to fourteen.
Late yesterday afternoon, 76-year-old resident Anne Faye died in hospital after contracting COVID-19 while at Newmarch House nursing home in Caddens, near Penrith.
NSW Health has stepped in to help Anglicare Sydney run the facility, which has been operating with just 25 per cent of its original staff after dozens were forced into isolation.
There are concerns around ongoing infections at the residential facility, with two new cases being confirmed today.
One of those people was a contact of a known case and had been in self isolation.
There have now been 63 cases confirmed at the home, including at least 37 residents.
“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 Sydney said in a statement released on Sunday morning.
All staff employed at the nursing home will be tested for COVID-19 at the start of every shift as part of new measures announced by NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard today.
In addition, an infectious disease expert is now on site to assist staff with the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment.
Mr Hazzard has walked back earlier criticisms of Anglicare Sydney over their communication with residents’ families, urging the public not to point fingers.
“It’s not a good thing to be blaming people on the frontline who are trying to help the residents,” he told a press conference this morning.
“It has been extremely challenging for Anglicare. They’ve had to have nine separate agencies provide health staff – and staff generally.”
NSW chief medical officer Kerry Chant said yesterday that it was clear that it “looks like there’s been breaches of infection control amongst particularly the staff”.
“And that’s obviously a concern. There are have been some elements where consistent application of infection control practice has not occurred.”
At least two residents’ families are in talks with Anglicare Sydney about having their relatives relocated from the facility which is in Caddens, near Penrith.
Anglicare Sydney confirmed alternative accommodation options were being discussed with residents and their families.
“Of course this is possible, provided there is a good understanding of the risks and precautionary measures that this would involve,” the statement read.
Mr Hazzard said any resident who wished to relocate was at liberty to do so, but said he understood many wished to remain, viewing the facility as their home.
Anglicare Sydney chief executive Grant Millard said yesterday “it would seem that’s fairly obvious that there have been failings”.
“The use of PPE (personal protective equipment) is foreign to a lot of people,” Mr Millard told Seven News on Saturday.
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay has called on the government to give all Newmarch residents, even ones who were healthy, the option of being moved to the public hospital system.
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