All remaining residents at Menarock Life Aged Care in Essendon, Victoria, have been transferred to hospital to receive care.

Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck announced on Friday that the Federal Government, Victorian authorities and Menarock Life jointly decided to transfer the remaining 15 residents to La Trobe Private Hospital in Bundoora.

Richard Colbeck

All 15 residents were transferred on Friday, Mr Colbeck confirmed to Australian Ageing Agenda.

Another 20 residents from the facility were already hospitalised at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, three of whom have since been transferred to Healthscope’s La Trobe Private Hospital.

All 20 residents at La Trobe Prviate Hospital have tested negative for COVID-19, a spokesperson for Healthscope has confirmed to AAA.

Menarock Life Aged Care said on Friday it had communicated with every resident and their family about the transfers and would continue to update families about the care and wellbeing of their loved ones.

“We will also provide information about our plans to support the future return of residents and look forward to welcoming back our residents to the facility and our Menarock Life Community,” the provider said in a statement.

All residents at Royal Melbourne Hospital are expected to join their residents at La Trobe Private Hospital, it said.

Menarock Life Aged Care’s outbreak, which has 38 positive cases linked in total, is one of several large outbreaks to hit aged care homes in the state including Estia Health in Adeer (40 cases) and Allity’s Glendale Aged Care facility in Werribee (28).

Victoria has recorded 134 new cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths among aged care residents since 7 July, according to Federal Government figures for Monday 20 July.

The decision to transfer the residents follows repeated calls from aged care provider peak bodies for immediate hospital transfers of COVID-19 positive aged care residents, and particularly the index cases (read our story here).

The state’s health authorities currently decide on a case-by-case basis whether to transfer to hospital according to individual clinical care needs and preferences, the advice of experts helping to manage the outbreak and the capacity of the facility to manage infection control.

Transferring Menarock Life residents will help the facility manage the unfolding coronavirus outbreak, Mr Colbeck said.

“Due to the layout of the facility and the unique challenges of effectively isolating and grouping residents on site at Menarock Essendon, the decision was taken to transfer all residents to hospital,” he said.

The transfer was possible because of a partnership formed months ago between the Federal Government and the private hospital sector to ensure resources and staff were ready to support during the pandemic.

Healthscope CEO Steven Rubic said the staff at La Trobe Private Hospital would work to ensure residents received the best possible care.

“Our collaboration with both state and federal health authorities has been one positive aspect of this pandemic and we look forward to playing our role in the care of these residents,” Mr Rubic said.

The transferred residents will receive follow-up testing for COVID-19 and be closely monitored for any symptoms of the virus.

This story was updated on Wednesday to correct inaccuracies.

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