Aged care workers who provide home support across Victoria’s lockdown zones will have to wear face masks from now on as the state confronts a spike in coronavirus cases.

Greg Hunt

Health minister Greg Hunt and aged care minister Richard Colbeck issued the directive on Monday to the state’s home and residential care providers on advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

The latest advice comes on top of other infection control and staff screening measures already in place.

An additional four million masks will be made available to aged care and home care providers in the areas with restrictions including Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shires, the ministers said, immediately assisting 425 home care providers.

“With the current surge in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, there has been a particular emphasis on ensuring additional PPE has been sent to Victoria to ensure aged care workers in that state have access to such equipment,” Minister Colbeck said.

He reminded all providers to continue to practise good hygiene and follow limits to public gatherings including keeping 1.5 metres of distance.

“If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and get tested,” he said.

There has been one death fromCovid-19 among government-subsidised home care recipients in Victoria and as of July 13 there were two active cases, according to health care figures.

Australia-wide, there have been 34 confirmed home care cases and four deaths.

Providers in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can contact [email protected] to request masks for workers who are delivering close care and clinical care, and other PPE, including gloves and gowns to services with potential or confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.

Flu shot reminder

Meanwhile, Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has written to CHSP providers stressing the importance of the flu vaccine for all staff and volunteers.

“As COVID-19 restrictions ease, vaccinations for staff and volunteers who assist older people in their homes is also particularly important this year to protect against influenza,” Dr Kelly writes.

“Vaccination against influenza every year will not only provide protection for your staff but also an additional layer of protection for consumers, who are more vulnerable to serious complications from influenza.”

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