LASA has warned that unremitting community and health vigilance is critical in Victoria and across the nation to reduce deaths from coronavirus.

“Older Australians and the passionate people who care for them remain at the forefront of this fight, and we are entering an incredibly testing time,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“The number of aged care homes with infections is increasing and the clear and present danger persists. This is a matter of life and death.

“Furthermore, older Australians in their family homes are also vulnerable to the risk of community transmission of the coronavirus.

“The entire community, especially across Melbourne and Victoria, must re-commit to absolute caution because this virus has proven deadly for far too many older people.”

Mr Rooney said the sector is working extremely hard to keep people safe across residential aged care facilities and home care services, particularly in Victoria.

“So far, the safeguarding of older Australians in care has been very good.

“Every death from coronavirus is tragic but there is no doubt our nation’s aged care providers and their tireless staff have saved lives.

“Health Minister Greg Hunt summed it up when he said their lifesaving work was beyond anything he had anticipated.

“There is no doubt the preparedness, courage and devotion of aged care staff is continuing to protect our elders but they need support from across the community.

Mr Rooney said visitors to residential care services must take personal responsibility and carefully comply with local rules applied to protect their loved ones in residential care.

“This includes enhanced protections for residents and staff, including limiting visitations,” he said. “Ongoing vigilance is also required when engaging with older people in the community.

“As individuals, families and communities, we must not be complacent in complying with COVID-19 protection measures, such as social distancing.

“Complacency results in increased risk to the health and safety for older Australians and we call on everyone to play their part in keeping our elders safe and free from harm.”