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Important information about Marco Polo Woonona

18 July 2023

Dear family member/resident representative,

Thank you for your patience as we continue to manage your loved one’s aged care centre in accordance with our outbreak management plan.

COVID-19 update

Since our last update to you two more residents on Level 1 have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Both were considered close contacts of a resident who was diagnosed late last week.  Pleasingly, no other identified close contacts have tested positive and will have their Day 6 PCR tests completed tomorrow. If no further positive cases are detected, these residents will be able to re-join their community on Thursday. Until then all are encouraged to remain in their rooms where they are being served their meals and supported with their care needs.

While we await the PCR test results, the residents are being tested via the rapid antigen method. If your loved one returns a positive result, we will let you know by phone and continue to provide you with a daily update regarding their progress.

Gastroenteritis-like illness update

We are currently caring for 29 residents experiencing gastroenteritis-like symptoms. Pathology samples tested indicate the presence of Norovirus. The residents are from both levels of the care centre and while symptomatic, have been encouraged to remain in their rooms where they are being monitored closely. Staff have contacted the families of those affected by telephone. 

In pleasing news, several residents have met their recovery criteria and have been happy to rejoin their fellow residents in communal areas. .  

Strict infection control protocols are in place site-wide, including the allocation of staff to specific areas, reinforcement of the correct use of PPE, thorough and frequent hand-washing with soap and water (this is deemed more effective than hand sanitiser for gastroenteritis-like viruses) and the close monitoring of all residents for any symptoms.

Group activities have been cancelled and residents continue to be supported with 1:1 activities. We will continue to report to the Public Health Unit for this outbreak.

Rhinovirus update

Meanwhile, our three residents on the ground floor earlier diagnosed with rhinovirus have now recovered and as of yesterday the local Public Health Unit has now closed the rhinovirus outbreak at the care centre. In the 24 hours since the closure, we have had an additional resident in Elouera test positive to Rhinovirus. This resident is being encouraged to stay in their room where they are being served their meals and supported with their care needs.

Visiting arrangements and additional PPE requirements

There are a number of highly contagious viruses, including norovirus, active in the community. For this reason you are strongly encouraged to reconsider any plans to visit.

If you do proceed please do so with full awareness of the risks and I urge you to assist staff by complying with the requirements to wear additional PPE including face shield and N95 mask (which may be a challenge for small children). Please note: the P2/N95 mask and face shield must be worn at all times while inside the care centre – this includes residents’ rooms.

Those visiting a resident who is considered a close contact or is COVID-19-positive will also be asked to wear additional PPE and instructed on how to dispose of it safely.

All other visiting arrangements, including the requirement to provide proof of a negative rapid antigen test result on arrival, continue to apply.  You can find more information about our visiting arrangements on our website here.

As always, please do not visit your loved one if you are experiencing any symptoms or are feeling unwell, even if the symptoms are mild.

Please pass this message on to others as you consider appropriate and if you have any questions, please contact your Care Manager.

Thank you for your support.

Kind regards,

Debbie Andrews
Business Manager South East Sydney – Aged Care Centres

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