COVID-19 numbers have more than quadrupled in residential aged care in the last four months.
The Department of Health and Aged Care reported 3,799 active resident and staff cases on 8 June 2023 – up from 2,043 on 13 April and 797 cases on 9 February.
Vaccinations, meanwhile, remain stubbornly low.
In the government’s latest update, 54.9 per cent (101,423) of aged care residents are estimated to have had a booster shot (or infection) in the last six months.
‘These numbers are troubling,’ OPAN CEO Craig Gear OAM said.
‘Vaccination remains the best form of protection against the impacts of COVID-19.’
According to a recent study by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, having a COVID-19 booster in the last three months reduced the risk of death by as much as 93 per cent for adults 65 or older compared to those who were unvaccinated.
‘Service providers must work with older people and their families to ensure every aged care resident is supplied with up-to-date information and access to a booster shot,’ Mr Gear said.
Antiviral treatments further reduce the risk of complications for people over the age of 70.
‘We encourage older people to have a conversation with their family and health team about the treatment that is right for them,’ Mr Gear said.