Covid strikes disability home

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A Covid outbreak has infected residents and staff at a Doveton disability care home.

Four residents and six staff at the ermha365 residence in Paperbark Street tested positive for Covid, chief executive Karenza Louis-Smith said.

“Affected staff and the residents are currently isolating at home and none have been hospitalised.

“Out of respect for the privacy of the staff and clients we do not disclose vaccination status.”

The facility was closed for deep cleaning after a disability support worker at the site fell unwell and tested for Covid, Ms Louis-Smith said.

“It is our understanding the staff member was exposed to the virus within the wider community.

“All staff and residents who attend the property were immediately notified of the positive Covid-19 case and were contacted by ermha365 and the Department of Health regarding necessary testing and quarantine requirements.”

She said ermha365 was supporting residents, their families and support workers during their self-isolation.

“The health and safety of our clients, staff and the broader public is our utmost priority and we continue to adhere to all Government directives and advice around hygiene and infection control measures in relation to the management of Covid-19.”

Ms Louis-Smith said ermha365 “intend to adhere fully” to the State Government’s mandate for authorized workers to be fully vaccinated by 26 November.

“(We) continue to support the delivery of vaccinations for staff and clients through vaccination hubs at our head office in Dandenong.

“We continue to actively encourage staff, the people we support and their families to make informed decisions around vaccination.”

A draft federal Royal Commission report into disability care on 27 September found disability-care residents and workers were “deprioritized” in favour of aged care during the federal Covid vaccine rollout.

It stated some people with disability in residential settings were “at particularly high risk of adverse outcomes from Covid-19 – for example, people with serious respiratory conditions or who were severely immuno-compromised”.

As of 3 October, 81.2 per cent of Victorian NDIS screened disability workers had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 65.8 per cent had received two doses.

NDIS Federal Minister Linda Reynolds recently announced $100 payments for NDIS disability providers to get workers vaccinated from 1 October.

“This payment will provide support to registered providers to cover any additional costs they incur in ensuring their disability workers are able to access a Covid-19 vaccination.”