Aged care facilities doing their part to mitigate the Covid threat

Resthaven and Lutheran Villages are taking cautious steps in response to the Tailem Bend exposure sites

As the evolving Covid situation in Tailem Bend is closely followed, local aged care and retirement villages are taking additional cautions to support the response.

Murray Bridge Lutheran Homes, comprising sites at Murray Heights and Owl Drive, have minimised community events and gatherings on site while the Tailem Bend exposure sites are being monitored.

According to Murray Bridge Lutheran Homes CEO Delton Schiller, this will help with minimising potential community spread and protecting their older residents.

“We’ve shut our centres down so we don’t have that additional mix and can stop more circulation,” Mr Schiller said.

While the Lutheran Homes are independent living and residents are welcome to interact like any other member of the community, organised group gatherings have been put on hold.

“Simple things like bible studies, BBQ’s, get togethers are off the radar at the moment.”

While some may view the response as overcautious, potential links to the Tailem Bend exposure site has prompted the response.

“We had one of our tradies give us the heads up in the early days,” Mr Schiller said.

“He went to the Bridgeport Saturday night and sat next to one of the staff members from the Tailem Bend service station.

“One of our other staff members had a son and a mate from Tailem Bend go to Mannum for a sleepover.

“We’ve been over cautions because of that.”

Those that had been in contact with those from the exposure sites have since undertaken testing.

Resthaven staff feel pressure to get vaccine ahead of deadline

Resthaven are also closely following the situation but have seem to have avoided any casual exposure according to Resthaven representative Julie Johinke.

“We’re not aware of any contact and are complying with social distancing and other requirements from SA Health,” Ms Johinke said.

Instead the main pressure for Resthaven is getting all of it’s staff vaccinated for Covid within the next two months.

A federal direction requires that all residential aged care workers have received at least their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by September 17.

While residents have all been offered vaccines, staff were not included in the same program and will need to organise to get their first dose privately.

“All residents who wanted a Covid vaccine have had one but unfortunately the roll out didn’t include staff,” Ms Johinke said.

“It would have been nice to have had the vaccine administered at the same time to staff.”

The Covid vaccine requirement for staff is in addition to the requirement to have completed their seasonal flu vaccine.

As of June 1 this year, all staff and visitors are required to have had a flu vaccine and present evidence upon entering a residential aged care facility nationwide.

“This was a program that was brought in last year,” Ms Johinke said.