The South Australian Government will ban aged care workers from working in multiple facilities as a precaution to stop the spread of coronavirus.
- Aged care workers will only be able to work at one facility
- Staff will have to wear face masks when near a resident
- There have been no new coronavirus cases in SA
As of August 27, all personal care workers will only be allowed to work in one aged care facility.
The Government will also require staff — including doctors, nurses and care workers — to wear masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) when they come within 1.5 metres of aged care residents.
Premier Steven Marshall said the decision was based on the “devastating” infection rates and fatality rates experienced in aged care in other jurisdictions.
“We don’t do these things lightly,” Mr Marshall said.
South Australia has recorded no new cases of coronavirus since yesterday, while no coronavirus cases have been reported in aged care facilities in SA since the start of the pandemic.
Mr Marshall said the restrictions could be hard for some aged care businesses.
“We understand this but they are far better than the alternative that we are seeing in other parts of the country,” he said.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said everyone working at aged care facilities would be required to undergo infection control training.
She said lessons had been learned from other states about how coronavirus tended to spread to aged care residents from healthcare workers rather than visitors.
“The evidence from Victoria is when you have people working across sites it is much more easy for the disease to spread between facilities and that starts as a small problem which quickly has grown to a very large problem,” she said.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said SA Health would work with public, private and non-profit aged care providers to “iron out” any issues, including allowing workers to trade shifts instead of working at one more than one place.
“We want to minimise the disruption to workers,” Mr Wade said.
“We are very keen to keep our workforce employed.”
He said Victoria and Queensland already had the same measure in place.
Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan urged the State Government to provide financial assistance to affected aged care workers.
“These restrictions seem to make sense but there will be some impact on workers who will, as a result of these change, lose hours and lose incomes,” he said.
“Hopefully the State Government is working on some support measures for those workers who will be affected in their take-home pay.”