Prime Minister Scott Morrison is standing by his aged care minister after he struggled through questioning at an inquiry probing the coronavirus response.
Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck was on Friday unable to inform a Senate inquiry what percentage institution residents have died from coronavirus.
Mistakes made in the aged care response to COVID-19
Senator Colbeck, who has apologised for mistakes made within the aged care response, had to depend upon a department official to produce the figure.
Mr. Morrison says he has confidence in Senator Colbeck.
“I’m sure the minister regrets not having the ability to recall those figures to mind. infrequently I am unable to call every figure to mind,” the prime minister told reporters in Canberra.
“I think it is important to play the problem, not the person here.”
Mr. Morrison has announced an extra $171 million to assist the world battle coronavirus, with more funds flagged within the October budget.
Labor says most of the funding already committed to the world hasn’t been spent.
A total of 285 people living in government-subsidised residential aged care nationally have died from the virus, in keeping with data from the health department website dated 20 August.
Aged care homes in Victoria are currently handling outbreaks, but coronavirus struck NSW facilities earlier this year.
Senator Colbeck received a report into Sydney’s Dorothy Henderson domicile April, which warned about impacts on staffing levels.
The issue arose at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Melbourne when all staff had to self-isolate, leaving the centralized to require over management.
Asked why there wasn’t better preparation after Dorothy Henderson, Senate Colbeck insisted the scenarios were different.
“St Basil’s was the complete workforce,” he said.
“Not just the care workforce but the complete workforce – everyone who worked within the facility – which was something we had not seen previously.”
Senator Colbeck said while there was no document for a workforce surge strategy, it absolutely was a part of the public health response.
The aged care watchdog has conceded it should have done better after not telling the national a staffer at the Melbourne rest home had tested positive.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission was told on 10 July the staffer had tested positive but didn’t tell the health department for four days.
St Basil’s has been linked to a minimum of 20 deaths.
“Again, I offer my apologies to the residents and families of those affected in those facilities. It was not good enough.”
Department of Health deputy secretary Michael Lye said one in all the largest lessons from outbreaks at Dorothy Henderson Lodge and Sydney’s Newmarch House was hospitalisation of residents.
Mr. Lye said it absolutely was important for hospitalisation to occur on a case-by-case basis.
“Sometimes the proper thanks to achieving effective separation of positive and negative residents is to use hospitalisation of the negative residents.”
A report into the Newmarch House outbreak has been considered by the national cabinet and is predicted to be released publicly.
People in Australia must lodge at least 1.5 metres aloof from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.
If you’re experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and data is out there in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronaviru
A version of this article was originally published on https://www.sbs.com.au/news/aged-care-minister-richard-colbeck-unsure-of-nursing-home-covid-19-death-toll-as-extra-funding-announced