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Masks, staff restrictions flagged for SA aged care sector

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The State Government is set to impose new coronavirus restrictions on the aged care sector, including limiting the movement of care workers across multiple sites and the wearing of face masks at facilities.

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The state’s emergency coordinator and SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens will make an announcement at 3pm today regarding what Premier Steven Marshall described as a “logical tightening” of restrictions in aged care facilities.

Marshall said the Government was “very carefully” considering restricting aged care workers to one site to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“This has been a really big problem interstate where people have been infected as a worker and then going to another site and spreading that infection,” he said.

Marshall also flagged a new regulation could be imposed to make face masks mandatory at residential care homes.

“We are… looking at the issue relating to face masks, including who should wear them, who don’t need to wear them,” he said.

It comes after a Royal Commission this morning heard aged care residents in Australia were being treated as second-class citizens and “hundreds” would die prematurely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marshall said South Australia was the only state in Australia that required people who live in aged care facilities to be removed from the premises if they test positive for COVID-19.

He said he was only “slightly concerned” that South Australian aged care facilities were at risk of being exposed to coronavirus, but South Australia should not be complacent.

“We’ve got to constantly look at the restrictions that we have because we know that we have vulnerable communities in those high-density arrangements,” he said.

“They have been very, very dangerous situations in other parts of the country.”

Marshall said the Government was “constantly” reviewing every restriction in place in the state to “get the balancing act right”.

“It would be very easy to lock-up the entire state and that might be fantastic from a health perspective, but it would be devastating from an economic perspective and a jobs perspective.

“We are treading a very, very careful tightrope here in South Australia (and) are always looking to optimise the position.”

– with AAP

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