In recent weeks we have experienced increased positive Covid cases amongst QHC's staff team. This has resulted in a tweaking of our response, as we try to keep people safe and minimise the risk of further infection to residents, clients and staff.
In recent weeks NSW residents were warned by the Chief Health Officer that we were in the early stages of the next Covid wave with case numbers expected to rise in November and December. This week we are seeing the impact of this with 22,672 people diagnosed with COVID-19 which is an increase of 52.8% since the previous week. PCR testing for COVID-19 has also increased by 17.7% compared to the previous week.
Dr Kerry Chant advised that NSW is experiencing an increase in COVID cases and changes in the variants circulating amongst the community. The protection the NSW community has from vaccination and previous infection continues to reduce the risk of severe illness, however, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions will continue to be at higher risk. Ms Chant advised people to make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations and to make use of antivirals if they are eligible.
Quality Health Care provides essential supports and services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Individuals and families rely on our service to keep people safe and free from harm. To do this, we have taken all necessary precautions to keep people well and free from infection and we take seriously the advice and measures suggested by the Australian and NSW Governments and the Chief Medical Officer.
We all have to do our bit to support our clients, our our families and friends and our community. Quality Health Care is working hard to ensure services are delivered daily and we can continue to operate throughout this pandemic. We have asked all team members to stay vigilant, look after their health and stay safe as there is no natural immunity in the population and no vaccine to inoculate people against COVID-19.
QHC clients and staff have the right to a healthy and safe working environment, we have been working together to adapt and promote safe work practices across all services and sites. We have consulted with teams to identify, understand and quantify any risks associated with possible infection and we ensure sites are prepared and ready to implement strict hygiene protocols and social distancing between clients, staff and visitors.
We have increased our cleaning and hygiene protocols across all sites and have reverted to the closure of sites where positive cases have occurred for five days while we assess whether additional positive cases are present. In an effort to reduce the risk of further infection, we have introduced the following measures.
All staff working at QHC houses will wear face masks when supporting residents. The use of face masks indoors is an important risk reduction strategy and is mandatory for staff and visitors during the present wave.
QHC is still accepting visitors as we believe this is essential for residents' wellbeing and helps to reduce the impacts of social isolation on mental health. We do require visitors to wear a face mask while visiting and we also request the following of all visitors;
Please don't visit a site if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, or have tested positive to COVID-19 in the last 7 days
When visiting please use well-ventilated areas of the house and/or use outdoor areas while visiting
Avoid groups and maintain physical distancing if possible, particularly when there are people at high risk of severe illness
QHC will not allow staff or visitors to enter if they have;
If a visitor meets any of the above criteria and a visit must occur, it is strongly recommended that a negative rapid antigen test is undertaken before entry, and the visitor wears a mask whilst in the facility.