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Queensland figures show Covid infection rates in aged care facilities soaring, even as the broader community is cautiously hopeful omicron may have reached its peak.

In a breakdown of the latest Federal Government statistics, the tragic impact of omicron in aged care in Queensland is seen in the rapid spread across aged care facilities, and deaths in aged care increasing from one to 45 within a fortnight (a figure that understates current numbers).

The statistics show that from January 7 to January 20 in centres with active infections:

  • Covid spread from 48 facilities to 212 facilities.
  • The number of infected residents grew from 148 to 1306.
  • The number of infected aged care workers grew from 264 to 2263.
  • The number of deaths in Queensland aged care jumped from 1 to 45.

The statistics analysed by United Workers Union also show the devastating impact omicron is having at an individual facility level, both in terms of residents’ health and also in the ability of aged care workers to look after their residents.

  • Forest Lake Lodge in Forest Lodge is the site of the deadliest current outbreak in Queensland with 7 resident deaths, 77 resident cases and 53 aged care worker cases.
  • Jeta Gardens Aged Care Facility in Bethania is the site with the largest number of aged care workers currently infected in Queensland –  with 71 aged care worker cases and 39 resident cases.

“It is tragically clear from these figures that Covid is out of control in Queensland aged care facilities despite the best efforts of aged care workers to protect their residents,” Carolyn Smith, National Aged Care Director for United Workers Union, said today.

“My heart breaks for those centres with large numbers of aged care workers or residents affected by Covid.

“Those centres will be stretched to breaking point but there is almost nothing being done for them – they were in crisis even before omicron came along.

“Scott Morrison has not had a plan to deal with aged care, he has failed to deliver RAT tests and PPE where they are needed, and there is no effective surge workforce.

“As spelled out in this week’s United Workers Union survey of more than 900 workers – including almost 400 from Queensland – half of workers say they have no access to RAT tests and a third say their PPE is non-existent, inadequate or inappropriate.

“Almost 60 per cent said they have been asked to work double shifts and a quarter have had their leave cancelled.

“They feel neglected, ignored and completely overwhelmed.

”More needs to be done urgently and it’s the responsibility of Scott Morrison to fix the problems in aged care that he has ignored for so long.”

EDS: To mark the deteriorating circumstances in Queensland aged care, United Workers Union delegates and officials will today visit a badly impacted site and deliver much-needed N95 masks to aged care workers. Pictures and video available on request.



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