More than 200 aged care residents have died from Covid in one week, marking it as one of the deadliest weeks of the pandemic in aged care since the Covid outbreak began in 2020.
The latest Federal Government figures released late on Friday show how unprepared aged care facilities have been left to fend for themselves as aged care workers and aged care residents face the full impact of omicron.
Total Covid cases in aged care among staff and residents have jumped from 19,059 to 23,900 as 1261 aged care facilities fight an active outbreak – up from 1098 facilities last week.
A total of 9643 aged care residents and 14,257 aged care workers have Covid in active outbreaks.
The 222 aged care deaths recorded from Covid in aged care since January 20 mean the first month of 2022 has been deadlier for aged care residents – with 389 deaths from Covid – than the whole of last year – with 282 deaths from Covid.
The figures show the vulnerability of aged care residents to Covid even after vaccinations – the 389 deaths in aged care this year represent a third of the total 1163 deaths across Australia due to Covid reported this year.
“A complete Federal Government failure in dealing with aged care is now being seen in deaths that just shouldn’t be happening,” Carolyn Smith, United Workers Union National Aged Care Director, said today.
“The seemingly unchecked spread of Covid across facilities and within facilities means there has been no effective Federal Government plan to deal with Covid as it hits these most vulnerable people.
“As a result, exhausted aged care workers are left to pick up the pieces as they face the double whammy of massive Covid-related staff absences and they try to help frightened, angry and often ill residents.
“Workers have told us there is no visible surge workforce, the booster program has been a shambles, many facilities lack even the most basic PPE and RAT tests have not been available.
“These statistics prove the crisis in aged care in the worst way possible.
“If there were any accountability for the disaster now happening in aged care, Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck’s letter of resignation would be on Scott Morrison’s desk on Monday.”
The table below shows the number of deaths by state in facilities with active outbreaks, the number of facilities with active outbreaks and the number of staff and residents infected with Covid as of January 27.
EDS: The figures in the table are based on facility-level reporting in the latest Federal Government statistics. As a result there are notable discrepancies with the Federal Government’s topline reporting (for example 12,138 aged care worker cases at facility level versus 14,257 cases in topline reporting). The reported deaths appear to be cumulative across the outbreak. A sortable excel spreadsheet with state and facility-level figures for the past two weeks is available HERE.
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