The most vulnerable older Australians – whether in aged care or living at home – are being put at risk of COVID-19 infection and death by community members ignoring quarantine rules.

Revelations today that more than a quarter (130) of positive cases in Victoria doorknocked by ADF teams in the past 24 hours appeared to be flouting self-isolation rules were alarming.

Reports from Queensland of individuals who travelled from hot spot areas interstate and allegedly did not declare their movements or self-isolate have prompted a desperate appeal from those on the front line of the fight against COVID-19 within aged care.

“It is shocking that so many people appear to be putting vulnerable at-risk Australians in the firing line of COVID-19,” LASA CEO Sean Rooney said.

“Aged care staff and providers are on the frontline of COVID-19 but every person across Victoria and our nation is fundamental to the fight. Aged care providers have been on high alert for months and need collaboration from the entire community.”

While we are doing all we can to mitigate the risk of infection in aged care homes, we know that widespread community transmission can lead to infections in these high-risk environments.

“This has been a key and tragic driver of the outbreaks in residential aged care across metropolitan Melbourne and Victoria,” Mr Rooney said.

“Aged care staff and operators are being vigilant in their efforts to minimise the risk of infection in aged care homes.

“Sadly, these risks cannot be entirely eliminated and stopping widespread community transmission is the best way to protect older Australians either in care or in their own homes. This requires every single Australian to maintain heightened vigilance with regards to social distancing, hygiene and local regulations like wearing masks.

“In the event a person is exposed to COVID-19 risk factors, becomes symptomatic or tests positive, they must immediately go into self-isolation.

“Ignoring this can be potentially be fatal. Vigilance and community compliance to prevent the spread of coronavirus to the most at-risk Australians must be foremost in everyone’s mind.

“This is a national priority – the situation facing Victoria is a deadly warning for the nation. Unchecked and asymptomatic community transmission of coronavirus has a devastating impact on older Australians, especially those in care.

“It is a time for every Australian to act together for the safety of our treasured elders.”