New South Wales aged care provider Anglicare Sydney has confirmed 10 staff and 20 residents at its Newmarch House facility have returned a positive result to coronavirus testing.

The number of infections have doubled overnight from the six staff and nine residents identified as positive yesterday and tripled since Wednesday when there were six staff and four residents positive for the virus.

All residents and staff at the facility in Caddens, near Penrith in western Sydney, have been tested, NSW Health confirmed yesterday.

The source of confirmed cases is under investigation and residents who tested negative are being re-tested again as a precaution, Anglicare Sydney said in a statement on Friday morning.

“We have contacted all relatives of our residents infected. Our staff that have tested positive are self-isolating at home on full pay.

“Anglicare has deployed a specially trained team of staff assigned to care for the residents who have tested positive.

“This team is wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE), follow strict infection control procedures and care solely for these residents,” Anglicare Sydney said.

Dr Kerry Chant
Dr Kerry Chant

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant told a press conference in Sydney on Friday morning that there could be more cases.

“I can’t stress [enough] that obviously that there has been extensive testing in that aged care facility and that we may see new cases be reported,” Dr Chant said.

Confirmed cases currently have mild, or no symptoms, NSW Health said.

Police clear aged care worker

The aged care staff member who worked at the aged care facility and a disability care home in the area while infectious has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

As part of its investigation into reckless intent, NSW Police attended the facility on Wednesday to speak with Anglicare CEO Anglicare CEO Grant Millard and the facility’s manager.

“It is understood the woman was not symptomatic while at work, and was last on duty on Thursday 2 April 2020.

“She was tested after this date when advised of contact with a person – not from the facility – who tested positive to COVID-19,” NSW Police said in a statement.

Assume ‘you have COVID-19 until it is excluded’

Earlier this week Dr Chant said it was important to move away from the individual and focus on the key message for people working in aged care as a result of this case.

“If you are working with vulnerable people, be aware that COVID-19 can be a very very mild disease.

“So if you have any symptoms at all, err on the side of caution and get tested… regardless of what’s you have got, think you have COVID-19 until it is excluded.

“And please don’t attend your workplace,” Dr Chant said.

There are at least 46 aged care residents nationally who have returned a positive result, according to Commonwealth Department of Health figures, which are updated at 3pm daily.

Almost all positive cases are in NSW (45) with the remaining case from Queensland.

To date, five of these residents have recovered and nine have died.

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