Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has taken aim at the federal government for allowing aged care facilities in the state to commission work across multiple sites.
It comes after four aged care homes in Victoria were locked down after three people linked to the centres tested positive to Covid-19 amid 11 new cases in the state.
The commonwealth on Friday belatedly advised workers to not work across multiple homes, but the instruction was not mandatory.
Professor Sutton said the Victorian government had implemented measures to combat workers being able to attend multiple sites.
“It is massively risky to move across different settings,” Professor Sutton said.
“There needs to be support and policy settings to minimise that to the fullest extent possible.”
The three cases reported on Monday are linked to an outbreak at Arcare Maidstone in the city‘s northwest after a worker at the facility – a mystery case – returned a positive result on Sunday.
An Arcare Maidstone resident, a woman in her 90s, is among them and has been moved to hospital with mild symptoms.
The development has authorities worried after 600 people died in aged care during Victoria’s second wave last year.
There is an overlap at a second aged care facility, Blue Cross, in Sunshine, with one employee reported to have worked shifts at both facilities.
Professor Sutton said the issue was a question for the commonwealth, which funded and oversaw the facilities.
“I understand that some settings will have critical workforce issues, people can’t move between settings. But the risk is manifest and needs to be minimised to the fullest extent possible,” he said.
“It is a risk wherever it occurs.”
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley agreed that staff working across multiple venues posed a huge problem but would not be critical of the commonwealth.
“I’m the minister, I know how the virus reacts, and it doesn’t make a distinction between commonwealth and state facilities,” Mr Foley said.
“My job is to keep Victorians safe, especially in those high-risk settings.”
Originally published as Health chief takes aim at ‘risky move’