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Thursday, 4th July, 2019

A sign on one of the entry doors at St Anne’s Nursing Home yesterday. PICTURE: Emily McInerney A sign on one of the entry doors at St Anne’s Nursing Home yesterday. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

Southern Cross Care facilities are in lockdown to prevent the spread of cold and flu, with families and visitors urged to stay away.

Southern Corss Care announced yesterday that it put its Broken Hill facilities into lockdown this week.

“Families have been asked to not visit the facilities. This is to protect our residents and minimise the risk of contamination and infection and re-infection,” CEO Zoe Tonkin said.

“We have the privilege of looking after the most vulnerable in our community and it is important that we keep them safe.

“As an organisation we have implemented all relevant policies and personal protective equipment for visitors to wear on entering the facilities that still visit, despite the risk.

“We are managing this in consultation with the local public health unit, Department of Health which we are required to do.”

Mrs Tonkin said there had been some confirmed cases of Influenza A in their facilities.

“This is our first lockdown for winter in all of our Broken Hill facilities.

“There are symptoms from residences at all sites.

“We also have a few confirmed cases of Influenza A.

“We’ve put our facilities into lockdown to make sure it is safe.”

Mrs Tonkin said the situation had also put pressure on staffing levels.

“We have many staff also affected, so the impact has been significant.

“We have an amazing team that when times get tough they all just get in and get the job done.

“The standard precautions are being taken, and our staff are being diligent.

“If staff show signs of being unwell, they are not to come into work.”

To limit the spread they do have to isolate residents presenting with flu-like symptoms.

“Unfortunately, with the way the flu or virus operates it takes four or five days for the symptoms to become evident and during this period it is most contagious.

“We’ve got plenty going on in the facilities, but it can get a bit lonely - especially if residents are confined to their rooms.

“We’re doing hourly rounding and checks. We’re putting on extra staff to ensure it happens.”

She said they have conducted similar procedures in the past.

“We had a lockdown last year, but it wasn’t across all sites.”

Mrs Tonkin said they have been contacting families.

“We’ve contacted families individually to let them know they can’t visit.

“We’ve also placed signs on our doors encouraging people not to visit.

“We’re trying to limit the spread of flu.

“We understand families want to visit facilities, we’re just asking them to stay away for now.

“If you are unwell with the flu, stay at home and minimise contact with other people if possible, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, such as the elderly, until you have recovered.”

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