A total of 149 aged care residents died in one week and the number of aged care residents who have been infected by omicron surged by more than 1600 in one week nationally, an analysis of the most recent Federal Government statistics show*.
With active outbreaks still occurring in 1,176 aged care facilities – down from 1,261 last week** – the deadly impact of omicron in aged care will be felt for weeks if not months to come, Carolyn Smith, National Aged Care Director for United Workers Union, said today.
The most recent Federal Government facility-level reporting shows 5,439 aged care residents and 6,541 aged care workers have active cases in facilities with active outbreaks**.
“It is a small but significant relief the number of active outbreaks in facilities has reduced slightly,” Ms Smith said. “But let the Aged Care Minister be in no doubt the aged care sector is still in crisis.
“We have reports of staff numbers being cut by half, personal care workers being asked to work as cooks, threats of kitchens closing due to lack of staff, facilities without cleaners – the list goes on.
“And always there is the huge impact on frightened, lonely residents left alone in their rooms for weeks on end.
“The continuing chaos within these facilities is hard to imagine, and it has put residents at grave risk and aged care workers at breaking point.”
The 149 aged care residents who lost their lives to Covid in the past week are among 533 aged care residents who have died across Australia this year, representing about a third of the 1750 Australians who have died of Covid this year*.
“We have known what Covid is like – once it gets in, it is devastating unless every precaution is taken, and yet our aged care facilities have been caught unprepared and found wanting,” Ms Smith said.
“Sadly this crisis is going to continue to play out for aged care workers, and will be a source of regret for years among those who have lost loved ones.
“This failure will continue until the Federal Government pledges real funds to fix understaffing and address a lack of time to care in a system that was broken even before Omicron came along.”
The most recent facility-level figures also spell out the particular toll borne by some facilities, with three facilities nationally reaching double-figure death tolls among 191 facilities to have lost aged care residents due to the current active outbreaks of Covid **.
** These figures are based on a United Workers Union analysis of the latest Federal Government facility-level reporting issued late on Friday. The analysis is available HERE.
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