An additional four million protective face masks will be made available to aged care and home care providers in Victoria’s COVID-restriction areas.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said the personal protective equipment (PPE) would be vital in preventing the introduction of COVID-19 to senior Australians receiving aged care as well as providing protection for carers.
The four million masks are in addition to the one million masks made available to primary care workers announced last week, Mr Hunt said.
“The Australian Government has worked very hard to ensure there is a sufficient supply of PPE, including masks, in the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) to ensure our heath care workers, and those working in aged care, can access them,” the Minister said.
On Monday Mr Hunt announced that all aged care staff who work in residential facilities or provide home care support across Victoria’s lock down zones would be required to wear surgical masks following recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
The latest advice for aged care workers is in addition to all other infection control and staff screening measures already in place across the sector to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Minister Hunt said the additional masks would be made available to aged care providers in the areas with current restrictions, including Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shires.
“This will immediately assist around 449 residential aged care facilities and 425 home care providers, with a total of 60,427 aged care recipients in these services.”
Further targeted testing will also be conducted on aged care residents and staff in facilities in the affected areas.
He said aged care providers in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can contact AgedCareCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au to request masks for in home and residential aged care workers delivering close personal care and clinical care, and other PPE like gloves and gowns to aged care services with a potential or confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.
The Minister said the email is closely monitored and prioritises facilities with active COVID-19 cases.