The aged care royal commissioner Lynelle Briggs says she is “shocked and dismayed” by revelations that two-thirds of aged care workers at the SummitCare aged care home at Baulkham Hills were unvaccinated.
[I was] left asking myself well what’s happened here? Has this been a mistake amongst officials? Was it a response to insufficient vaccines? Or was it deliberate, in which case it’s a scandal? Either way something serious must be done about it and it must be done quickly.
Briggs has called for the federal government to urgently vaccinate the workforce, saying the best approach is to send in-reach teams to their places of work to administer the jabs. That approach was originally part of the rollout plan, but the government abandoned it, and subsequent efforts to vaccinate the workforce have been marred by confusion and failure.
I think the government’s decision to make vaccination mandatory is a really important first step. But more important is to get vaccines into the arms of aged care workers really, really quickly. You can do that by a number of means, the most efficient will of course be delivery at people’s place of work … they must get vaccinated and vaccinated quickly.
The main nursing union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, has also called for an in-reach vaccination blitz of aged care workers. The ANMF said the commonwealth should fund the states to administer it.
Aged care workers were included as part of the highest priority cohort, phase 1A, which was initially supposed to be completed by Easter.
Queensland authorities are investigating whether the layout or air conditioning system in a Brisbane quarantine hotel caused the Covid infection of a mineworker, whose nine-hour stopover triggered lockdowns in the Northern Territory and health alerts across the country.
As the Queensland government continues to raise concern about the capacity of hotels for returning international travellers and the need for purpose-built quarantine facilities, the state’s health department says it is assessing whether “environmental or engineering factors” contributed to virus transmission on the fifth floor of the Novotel Brisbane airport.
The deputy premier, Steven Miles, told Guardian Australia that “weaknesses” in the hotel quarantine system created virus transmission risks.
Public health experts have explained the risks of hotel quarantine, including positive pressure rooms, inadequate ventilation systems and hallways and shared spaces that don’t have ventilation at all…
The fact is, hotel quarantine wasn’t designed to last the long haul.
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