Covid-19 media release 26/06/2020

Friday 7, August 2020

FROM: CEO – Graham Reed
DATE: 26th June 2020

Some residents and family members may have watched last Monday’s ABC 4 Corners program which highlighted the distressing situation that confronted residents and family members from an outbreak of COVID-19 at Anglicare’s Newmarch House in NSW in early April 2020. As a result of the outbreak, 19 residents died, 37 residents and 34 staff tested positive for the virus. (The 4 Corners Program can be viewed on iView)

Residents and family members could reasonably ask – “what safeguards are in place to prevent something similar happening at either of our residential care homes?”

In South Australia, we are very fortunate to have an agreement in place with SA Health, that were a resident to test positive for COVID-19, they would immediately be transferred to hospital to receive ongoing care and monitoring. This did not happen for residents of Newmarch House.

At LHI we have also implemented a number of steps to mitigate the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19. This includes daily screening of all staff, visitors and contractors wishing to enter the homes, daily monitoring of all residents’ health and well-being status checking for any flu like symptoms, restricted visiting hours and limiting access to our homes to only one entrance point.

In April, we activated the Pandemic Response Plan to guide and direct our actions throughout the pandemic. The team charged with responsibility for overseeing this plan is chaired by LHI’s GM Operations, Astrid Kuivasaari, and this team meets weekly or more frequently as required. All decisions relating to restrictions are reviewed by the Pandemic Response Team based on the most up to date information available.

Given what is happening just over the border in Victoria, there is certainly no room for complacency. Yes, South Australia has done a superb job of keeping the virus out of our state, however we are continuing to operate under the Directives issued by SA Health.

The most recent Directive issued last Friday, eased some of the restrictions that apply to residential care homes and SA Health has issued a Fact Sheet clarifying what the restrictions mean for residents and visitors.

The Fact Sheet can be accessed on the SA Health website

The eased restrictions importantly now provide for us to welcome back our wonderful volunteers into our RCHs effective from next Monday, 29th June. Volunteers will undergo the same screening checks that apply to LHI staff.

Graham Reed