Emmaus COVID-19 Response

Stay connected with the latest updates.

8 November 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE 221108: MODERATE EXPOSURES IDENTIFIED

Dear all,

Today we have been advised of a moderate risk exposure to some residents across our service. As a result, we are taking a cautious approach over the next 48 hours until we receive confirmation of results from PCR tests.

The Chief Health Officer NSW Health has advised of a potential increase in the risk of COVID, which is backed up by increasing case numbers reported in the community over the last week. In the last few days alone, we have been notified of relatives who have been in contact with COVID and have had 3 staff report positive results.

We share this information not to alarm rather to ensure we are all alert to the risk.

At this stage, no resident has tested positive to COVID. The wellbeing of all residents is being monitored and surveillance testing practices are in place.

It is vital, now more than ever, that we are attentive to the practices we know help minimise this risk (wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and maintaining 1.5m physical space).

We are in contact with the Public Health Unit and we are implementing the early stages of our outbreak management plan. Over the next 48 hours we have increased our vigilance in PPE and RAT testing where staff and visitors will be required to RAT test daily on entry and also wear P2/ N95 masks.

Residents have also been asked to remain on their respective sides of Emmaus eg Northside residents are not crossing over to Emmaus Southside and vice versa.

Visitor arrangements remain unchanged with the exception that:

  • visitors are asked to comply with any request to wear PPE
  • visits take place in the resident’s room and in outdoor spaces
  • visitors are restricted from visiting in the large communal

Activities will continue across the home and external outings are being maintained with mask wearing encouraged in community areas and where social distancing cannot be maintained.

We aim to maintain as much normalcy as we can for residents during these times as we very much understand how distressing the thought of a further outbreak is for everyone. We are all in this together and it is important that we continue to find ways to support and be there for each other.

From our previous learnings taking these initial and immediate steps in the very early phases assists greatly in helping contain potential outbreaks.

If you are worried about anything, please give us a call on 65899800 or send us an email via [email protected].

Thank you for your understanding and we will provide updates as further information arises.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

15 September 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #25: OUTBREAK DECLARED CLOSED

We are pleased to report that the Public Health Unit and Department of Health and Aged Care has declared our most recent COVID outbreak over.

All residents have now recovered and there have been no further cases identified.

Moving forward, we will continue to monitor for any signs and symptoms of COVID so that we able to act quickly in the event of any future outbreak. Learning to live with COVID is a fact of life for us all.

We are grateful for the outstanding efforts of our staff, the support of our local GPs, and the wonderful, cheerful resilience of our residents. We are all in this together, thank you for your support and understanding.

Remembering the simple things, such as, not visiting if you (or someone close to you) is unwell, wearing face masks (especially in environments where 1.5m social distancing cannot be observed and whilst visiting) and hand hygiene will help us keep COVID at bay.

Please note, visits are still to be pre-booked through reception on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

If you are worried about anything, please give us a call on the above phone numbers or send us an email.

Thanks again, for your patience, support, and kindness over the past few weeks as we met yet another COVID challenge.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

9 September 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #24: NEGATIVE TEST RESULTS FOR LOURDES

We are pleased to report that the follow up Day 6 PCR and Day 8 RAT tests conducted for residents in Lourdes House have all returned negative results. All residents are asymptomatic and from tomorrow our only positive resident will be deemed recovered.

The Public Health Unit (PHU) has congratulated us on our level of containment and will make special consideration and look to de-isolate Lourdes following a round of RAT testing on Saturday 10 September. Our Lourdes residents will however require further surveillance RAT tests on Monday and Wednesday (12 and 14 September) before the outbreak will be declared over.

While vaccinations, antiviral medications and the professional dedication of our staff are key factors in the successful management of COVID, we also rely heavily on the vigilance of every person entering our services to minimise the risk of new COVID outbreaks.  Thank you for all you do to help us with this.

Please be attentive to maintaining COVID safe practices such as wearing face masks (especially in environments where 1.5m social distancing cannot be observed and whilst visiting) and hand hygiene.

Please do not visit if you are (or someone close to you is) experiencing any flu or COVID like signs or symptoms.

Please note, visits are still to be pre-booked through reception on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

If you are worried about anything, please give us a call on the above phone number or send us an email.

We remain hopeful that, at some stage soon, we will have a period of normality and look forward to sharing that with you.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

2 September 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #23: COVID RISK STILL REAL FOR RESIDENTS, VISITORS & STAFF

As we to learn to live with COVID in our community, it is timely to remind everyone who lives, visits or works in vulnerable environments such as residential care services, like Emmaus, that the risks presented by COVID are still real.

While vaccinations, antiviral medications and the professional dedication of our staff are key factors in the successful management of COVID, we also rely heavily on the vigilance of every person entering our services to minimise the risk of new COVID outbreaks.

Please be attentive to maintaining COVID safe practices such as wearing face masks (especially in environments where 1.5m social distancing cannot be observed and whilst visiting) and hand hygiene.

Please do not visit if you are (or someone close to you is) experiencing any flu or COVID like signs or symptoms.

Today’s update:

  • We received good news from the NSW Public Health Unit (PHU) that residents in Agnes’ House have all returned negative PCR results and are able to de-isolate.
  • Overall, there is only one resident with active COVID at Emmaus. This resident is isolating in Lourdes House. As per PHU advice, the movement of all residents in this house is, for the time being, restricted to Lourdes House. All visitors are required to wear full PPE for the duration of their visit.

We have implemented the appropriate protocols from our Outbreak Management Plan and continue to work with the PHU to minimise the spread of any infection.

Please note, visits are still to be pre-booked through reception on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Don’t’ forget, if you are worried about anything, please give us a call on the above phone number or send us an email.

Thanks again for all you do to support our efforts to stay COVID safe.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

26 August 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #22: PRECAUTIONS IN PLACE FOR LATEST CASES

With COVID it sometimes seems that we take a couple of steps forward, only to take one back. That’s how it has been for us this week.

Today, we were pleased to receive advice from the NSW Public Health Unit (PHU) that residents in Newman House could de-isolate.

Then our surveillance testing detected one new case in Agnes house and confirmed a positive case in Lourdes house. As a result, we have spent the day implementing the appropriate protocols from our Outbreak Management Plan and working with the PHU to minimise the spread of any infection.

The situation in each house is:

  • Agnes’ House – one resident has tested positive and is isolating in their room. So far, we have been unable to identify a likely source of infection and, per PHU advice, we are discouraging non-essential outings for Agnes’ House residents and asking that these residents to remain in their house over weekend until we get the results of their latest PCR tests. This will be a great help in enabling us to manage any outbreak.
  • Lourdes House – one resident has tested positive and is being monitored closely. As per PHU advice, the movement of all residents in this house is, for the time being, restricted to Lourdes House. All visitors are required to wear full PPE for the duration of their visit.

The two affected residents are receiving medical advice and antiviral medication as appropriate.

We are working in consultation with the PHU on a schedule for follow up PCR testing and will keep you informed as we know more.

Please note, visits are still to be pre-booked through reception on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

We deeply appreciate everyone’s efforts to maintain COVID safe practices such as wearing face masks (especially in environments where 1.5m social distancing cannot be observed and whilst visiting), hand hygiene, vaccination boosters and not visiting our services if experiencing any flu or COVID like signs or symptoms.

Don’t’ forget, if you are worried about anything, please give us a call on the above phone number or send us an email.

We appreciate your support and ask that you keep our residents and staff in your prayers.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

1 August 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #20: RESIDENTS OUT OF ISOLATION

We received results for the final round of PCR testing for residents affected by this latest COVID outbreak and are pleased to report they were all negative. As a result, the Public Health Unit has declared this outbreak over.

We cannot rest on our laurels, however, as COVID is still surging in the community.

We continue to stay alert for any signs and symptoms of respiratory illness so, if an outbreak does occur, we can immediately implement our strengthened plans, focus on containment and, hopefully, limit resident isolations.

The residents who had contracted COVID in Donnelly, Pauls, Newman and Lourdes Houses are all out of isolation and are recovering well. We are so appreciative of all the efforts made by everyone who helped us achieve this outcome.

We are also pleased to advise that Visitation arrangements right across the Emmaus site have returned to two visitors per day, per resident, for unlimited time. Visits are to be pre-booked through reception on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected]. Please do not visit if you have any flu or COVID like signs or symptoms (or if you have been in contact with any person that has tested positive for COVID in the previous 48 hours) prior to your planned visit.

We are still encouraging Outings and want residents to enjoy themselves. However, we ask residents who are going on Outings, and the friends and relatives who may accompany them, to pay particular attention to maintaining COVID safe practices as we know there is increased risk with COVID still circulating in our community.

Even though the Government’s mandated restrictions have eased we strongly encourage you to continue wearing face masks especially in environments where 1.5m social distancing cannot be observed, to wash/sanitize your hands regularly, and to stay up to date with vaccination boosters.

If you are worried about anything, we welcome your call on the above phone number or email.

No words can say how grateful we are to all our staff for their dedication in looking after every resident in our care. Thank you to everyone for your sincere good wishes, co-operation and prayers during this most recent outbreak.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

28 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #19: CASE NUMBERS STABLE – RESIDENTS RECOVERING

We are pleased to report that the nineteen residents who tested positive in the most recent COVID outbreak at Emmaus are recovering well.

The latest round of PCR testing for Donnelly and Newman Houses has returned negative results for all residents. Ten out of 12 results for Pauls have been received and these are also negative. We are awaiting a further two results to be finalised.

Residents in Lourdes House are due to have PCR tests on Saturday (30 July) and, per advice from the Public Health Unit (PHU), residents in Donnelly and Newman Houses will have a final round of PCR testing on Sunday (31 July) as a final check before declaring this outbreak over if no further positive cases are identified.

Visitation arrangements for residents in Pauls, Lourdes, Newman and Donnelly Houses remain at one visitor per day for 1 hour, booked through reception. This will be reviewed again soon after our final testing results are known. Arrangements for visitors to Agnes’, Peters, Joseph and MacKillop Houses remain unchanged.

As we learn to live with COVID, we live in a state of readiness to tackle the next outbreak. We are extremely thankful for the outstanding efforts of all our staff, the support of our local GPs, and the wonderful, cheerful resilience of our residents. We are all in this together, thank you for your support and understanding.

There are still a significant number of COVID cases being reported in the area. Please be mindful of the risk of contagious contact you may bring into an aged care environment if you visit when even slightly unwell. Please do not visit if you have any flu or COVID like signs or symptoms (or if you have been in contact with any person that has tested positive for COVID in the previous 48 hours) prior to your planned visit.

We encourage you to maintain COVID-safe practices (ie wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing of 1.5m spacing, regular washing/sanitizing of hands, and staying up to date with vaccination boosters).

If you would like to check on a resident, book a visit, or are concerned about anything, please contact Emmaus on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Thanks, again, to everyone for working so hard to help us minimise the impact of COVID in our residential care services – your efforts are truly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

22 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #18: RESIDENTS DOING WELL

No new COVID cases have emerged since our last communication with you on 18 July. The nineteen residents who previously tested positive are continuing with antiviral medication and are doing well at this time.

Per advice from the Public Health Unit (PHU) second daily rapid antigen test (RAT) for those residents who have so far tested negative is continuing and preparations are in hand for the next round of PCR testing for residents in Donnelly (24 July), Newman (25 July), Pauls (26 July) and Lourdes (30 July) Houses.

Several residents are approaching Day 11 after a positive result and will soon be able to move around their houses and outdoor areas. These residents will be encouraged to wear masks as they do so.

We continue to monitor all residents across the service for the earliest signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. If a resident does return a positive COVID test, we will contact the resident’s nominated primary contact, directly, to provide them with updates so they can share this information with other family members.

From Monday (25 July) visitation arrangements for residents in Pauls, Lourdes, Newman and Donnelly Houses) will be one visitor per day for 1 hour, booked through reception. Visitation arrangements for Agnes’, Peters, Joseph and MacKillop Houses remain unchanged.

There are a significant number of COVID cases being reported in the area, including several in other residential care services and local Over 50’s living villages. Please be mindful of the risk of contagious contact you may bring into an aged care environment if you visit when even slightly unwell.

Please do not visit if you have any flu or COVID like signs or symptoms (or if you have been in contact with any person that has tested positive for COVID in the previous 48 hours) prior to your planned visit.

We encourage you to maintain COVID-safe practices (ie wearing face masks where distancing is not possible, regular washing/sanitizing of hands, allowing 1.5m spacing, and staying up to date with vaccination boosters).

Our Outbreak Management Plan is being reviewed continually to ensure the protocols we have in place to manage resident and staff movements, visitor screening, infection control, cleaning regimes, Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) and PCR testing are as strong and effective as they can be.

If you would like to check on a resident, book a visit, or are concerned about anything, please contact Emmaus on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Thank you to everyone for their support, kindness and patience, which means so much at times like this. Stay safe and keep us in your prayers.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

18 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #17: FOLLOW UP PCR TESTING PICKS UP MORE CASES

Follow up PCR testing undertaken for residents in Pauls, Donnelly and Newman houses on Sunday has picked up some new cases with 19 residents now testing positive for COVID. A resident in Lourdes House who also tested positive has, with permission, been transferred to Newman house.

All at risk residents have, in consultation with our treating medical officers, started on antiviral medication.

All residents across the service are being monitored for the earliest signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness.

Our team met again this morning with the Public Health Unit (PHU) to ensure we are taking every appropriate precaution to manage the current outbreak. In line with their advice, we will rapid antigen test (RAT) residents, who have so far tested negative, every second day and undertake another PCR test for residents in the following houses on these dates:  Donnelly (24 July), Newman (25 July), Pauls (26 July) and Lourdes (30 July).

From Day 11 after a positive result, residents will be able to move around their houses and outdoor areas. The wearing of masks will be encouraged for these residents.

Given the increase in cases, visitor access to Pauls, Donnelly and Newman Houses (Emmaus Northside) continues to be restricted. We feel this is an important action to take as we work to contain this outbreak. We deeply appreciate your support and understanding on this decision, which will be risk assessed again on Friday 22 July.

Conditions for visitation in all other Houses remain unchanged at this stage.

Please note, NSW Health advice states visitors must not enter a residential care service:

  • If they have any COVID symptoms or are awaiting a COVID test result
  • For at least 10 days after they have tested positive for COVID-19 and are symptom free.
  • For at least 7 days after the last person in their house tested positive if they are a household or close contact.

Please know that our Outbreak Management Plan is being reviewed continually to ensure the protocols we have in place to manage resident and staff movements, visitor screening, infection control, cleaning regimes, Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) and PCR testing are as strong and effective as they can be.

If you would like to check on a resident, or are concerned about anything, or need to organise a compassionate visit, please do not hesitate to contact Emmaus on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Our strongest weapon in the fight against COVID is the good relationship we build with each other. Together, we must all, conscientiously and vigilantly, maintain the practices that we know reduce the risk of COVID transmission (ie face masks, hand hygiene, physical spacing and vaccination).

The residents are in good spirits and our staff are working tirelessly to care for and protect them. Stay safe and keep us in your prayers.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

13 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #16: UPDATE ON CURRENT COVID CASES

Further to my communication on 11 July, PCR testing was undertaken yesterday on all residents in Pauls, Donnelly and Newman Houses (Emmaus Northside). While we are still waiting on some results, we have had an increase in positive COVID cases totally nine (9) residents.

We have commenced antiviral medication in consultation with our treating medical officers on all at risk positive residents.  All residents across the service are being monitored for signs and symptoms of respiratory illness and all residents are reported as well at this stage.

We are following the advice of the Public Health Unit and have activated our Outbreak Management Plan to minimise COVID-19 transmission across the Emmaus site. We have strict protocols in place to manage resident and staff movements, infection control, extra cleaning, and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) and PCR testing.

The difficult decision has also been taken to immediately restrict visitation in Newman and Donnelly Houses, where most cases have been detected. We apologise for any anxiety this may cause but feel it is necessary to take this action to enable us to address the current situation. This visitation decision will be risk assessed again on Monday 18 July, where we are hopeful that we can welcome visitors back to these Houses.

Conditions for visitation in all other Houses remain unchanged at this stage.

Residents remaining COVID negative in Pauls, Donnelly and Newman will undergo follow up PCR testing this Sunday 17 July to ensure no further spread has occurred. Following this testing round we  again meet with the Public Health Unit and update you with any changes.

If you would like to check on a resident, or are concerned about anything, please do not hesitate to contact Emmaus on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Please keep our staff and residents in your prayers as we work through this situation together.

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

11 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #15: CONFIRMED COVID CASE IN PAULS WING

The school holidays have brought with them an influx of visitors and people being more active in the Port Macquarie area, which has also increased the risk of COVID transmission.

Over the weekend we have had three residents display COVID-like symptoms – one has been confirmed as COVID positive and we are awaiting the results of PCR tests for the other two.

The confirmed case is in Pauls Wing and, so far, close contacts with this resident remain symptom free and have returned negative Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT). The two residents whose results are pending are from different wings and have had no contact with the positive resident.

We have implemented a planned response, which includes:

  • Close monitoring of the affected residents who are isolating in their room
  • Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) for residents and staff who have been close contacts
  • Deep cleaning has been undertaken
  • Full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being worn by staff caring for the affected residents
  • Essential workers only on site

We will be working with the public health unit to manage our response and, as you would expect, we are monitoring all residents for any signs and symptoms of respiratory illness.

As a precautionary measure, we are restricting movement into and out of Pauls and Donnelly Wings for the time being. Relatives are still able to visit with the following conditions in place:

  • Visits must be pre-booked via reception (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].
  • Visits are limited to one a day for an hour per resident
  • All visitors must wear full PPE, follow staff instructions, and stay within the area designated for the visit.
  • Check-in screening and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) are still required for visitors prior to entry. Visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to allow time for this process.

Conditions for visitation in other wings remain unchanged at this stage.

Even though mandated restrictions have eased, we urge you to to be vigilant around COVID-19 safe practices, especially when visiting our services. We strongly encourage you to wear a mask in environments where social distancing is not possible, to wash or sanitise your hands regularly, and to ensure your COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date.

Please do not visit our services if you are even slightly unwell or displaying any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Don’t forget you can book a visit by going to our website at sacal.org.au and clicking the red ‘Book a visit at a residential care service’ button in the header to gain access to our convenient, easy to use online booking service. If you have any concerns, please contact Emmaus reception on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected]

Kind regards,

Alan Pretty

Manager Emmaus Residential Care
St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

12 April 2022

Dear Residents and Families,

EMMAUS ADVICE:  UPDATE ON VISITOR ARRANGEMENTS

Thanks for all you have done and are continuing to do to keep yourselves, our staff and residents safe. Just as our staff are maintaining vigilance around COVID-safe practices, we also truly appreciate the efforts you are making to do the same.

With the approach of Winter there may be increased risks so we are doing all we can to prepare. For example, we are getting ready to roll out our annual Flu Vaccination program as well as providing opportunities for residents to have a 4th booster of the COVID vaccine.

The Australian Government’s Chief Medical Officer has also written to residents in residential care services about the importance of staying up to date with immunisations (see attached).

Here, for your information, is the latest update on our Visitor Arrangements:

  • Residents are permitted to have two fully vaccinated visitors aged 12 years and over, plus two children aged under 12 years per day.
  • Wherever possible, the visit should be in an outdoor area. Visits should not be in any inside communal areas.
  • All visits must be pre-booked for times between the hours of 10am to 3pm daily.
  • Check-in screening and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) are still required for visitors prior to entry. Please note visitors, should arrive 20 minutes prior to visits to allow for this process, but may experience some delays due to the Easter weekend.
  • Visitors aged 12 years and over must have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to their visit and are strongly encouraged to get a booster vaccine if they are eligible for one.
  • Up to two children under 12 years are permitted to visit provided they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated person.
  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask over their nose and mouth while visiting indoors. (Note, Children under 3 years of age should not wear a mask as it is a choking hazard). For reasons when masks can be removed see Additional Advice – Mandatory mask wearing.

Please do not visit our services if you are even slightly unwell or displaying any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Don’t forget you can book a visit by going to our website at sacal.org.au and clicking the red ‘Book a visit at a residential care service’ button in the header to gain access to our convenient, easy to use online booking service. If you have any concerns, please contact Emmaus reception on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected]

On a personal note, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, holy, and safe Easter.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

18 March 2022

Dear Residents and Families,

EMMAUS ADVICE: UPDATED VISITING PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS

As Emmaus continues to have high numbers of close contacts, the facility remains as previously advised on 2 March, that we welcome one visitor for one hour per day in the resident’s room or suitable courtyard area, this will continue for a further two weeks and then for review. Further information regarding visitation is as follows:

  • All visits must be pre-booked via reception or online via zipline and visits will be held between the hours of 10am to 3pm daily. Please phone Emmaus on 02 6589 9800 to secure your times.
  • Check-in screening and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) are still required for visitors prior to entry. Visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to visits to allow for this process.
  • Visitors aged 12 years and over must have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to their visit.
  • Visitors are strongly encouraged to get a booster vaccine if they are eligible for one.
  • Wherever possible, the visit should be in an outdoor area. Visits should not be in any inside communal areas. All visitors must wear a surgical mask over their nose and mouth while visiting indoors. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice – Mandatory mask wearing.

It is a reminder that regardless of the number of cases in the community and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we must continue to be vigilant around COVID-19 safe practices, especially not visiting our services if slightly unwell or displaying any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

If you would like to arrange a visit or an outing or check in with a resident, please contact us on 02 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Take care and continue to stay safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

4 March 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #13: PAULS REOPENS TODAY

Further to my update from Wednesday, I am pleased to inform you that follow-up testing on the possible exposure at Pauls has returned a negative result.

This means that, effective immediately, Pauls will return to regular visitation procedures. With the outbreak in Lourdes declared over, Lourdes will also return to regular visitation procedures on Monday 7 March.

I would like to thank all staff and residents for their patience with the temporary closure at Pauls and once again to everyone who helped us contain the outbreak at Lourdes. It certainly was a team effort.

It is a reminder that regardless of the number of cases in the community and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we must continue to be vigilant around COVID-19 safe practices, especially not visiting our services if slightly unwell or displaying any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Visitation procedures continue to be:

  • All visits must be pre-booked via Emmaus reception or by phoning (02) 6589 9800.
  • Check-in screening and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) are still required for visitors prior to entry. Visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to allow time for this process.
  • Every visitor is strongly encouraged to have had a COVID-19 booster shot before visiting.
  • Masks are still required to be worn in Aged Care services.

If you would like to arrange a visit or an outing or check in with a resident, please contact us on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Take care and continue to stay safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

2 March 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #12: LOURDES CLEAR, CLOSE CONTACT AT PAULS

Our update today contains mixed news. On one hand, it’s great to be able to advise that the recent COVID outbreak in Lourdes House has been officially declared over by the Public Health Unit (PHU).

On the other, we unfortunately need to let you know that Pauls House is closed to visitors for the next few days, as a result of a person who had tested negative on visits on preceding days, returning a positive RAT result this afternoon.

Congratulations to all staff and to everybody who played a role in helping us successfully contain the outbreak in Lourdes. The PHU commended our efforts in achieving this outcome.

The decision to close Pauls to visitation for the next few days will help us nip any possible outbreak in the bud. We are taking this precautionary action because, in the 48 hours prior to testing positive the visitor was in close contact with people in Pauls House. This temporary closure will enable us to properly assess the risks to residents, to conduct testing if needed, and to do a deep clean of the affected areas.  Staff in Pauls have resumed wearing full PPE as a further precautionary measure.

The closure will only affect Pauls House. Visitor arrangements for all other residents at Emmaus remain as previously advised on 25 February. That is all other residents at Emmaus are able to:

  • welcome one visitor for one hour per day in the resident’s room or suitable courtyard area.
  • enjoy pre-planned, risk-assessed outings (including Church attendance).

Please note:

  • All visits must be pre-booked via Emmaus reception or by phoning (02) 6589 9800.
  • Check-in screening and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) are still required for visitors prior to entry. Visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to allow time for this process.
  • Every visitor is strongly encouraged to have had a COVID-19 booster shot before visiting.
  • Masks are still required to be worn in Aged Care services.

The visitor’s positive result today is an important reminder to us all that we must maintain our vigilance around COVID safe practices such as hand hygiene and, especially around not visiting if even slightly unwell or displaying any signs and symptoms of COVID. That said, it is also reassuring to know that our screening processes are working.

If you would like to arrange a visit or an outing or check in with a resident, please contact us on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Take care and continue to stay safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

25 February 2022

Dear Residents and families,

 

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #11: NEGATIVE TEST RESULTS

Today we completed Rapid Antigen Testing for the residents in Lourdes, who required it. All returned negative results, which is great news!

With advice from the Public Health Unit (and if, as expected, no residents show signs or symptoms of COVID over the weekend), we will be able to ease restrictions across Emmaus from Monday 28 February 2022.

This means that from this date all residents at Emmaus are able to:

  • welcome one visitor for one hour per day in the resident’s room or suitable courtyard area.
  • enjoy pre-planned, risk-assessed outings (including Church attendance).

Please note:

  • All visits must be pre-booked via Emmaus reception or by phoning (02) 6589 9800.
  • Check-in screening and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) are still required for visitors prior to entry. Visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to allow time for this process.
  • Every visitor is strongly encouraged to have had a COVID-19 booster shot before visiting.
  • Masks are still required to be worn in Aged Care services.

As our community opens up more and more, it is also timely that we all commit to maintaining our vigilance around COVID safe practices such as hand hygiene and not visiting if unwell.

I cannot express my gratitude and thanks enough to residents, families, visitors and our remarkable staff for the determination, co-operation, patience, and resilience shown over the past couple of months as we have worked through the challenges of COVID outbreaks.

If you would like to arrange a visit or an outing or check in with a resident, please contact us on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Take care and continue to stay safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

22 February 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #10: UPDATE ON VISITS & OUTINGS

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard last week to help us get on top of the virus – we’ve made good progress and will be able to ease some of our restrictions this week. Our current situation is this:

One resident of Lourdes House, after testing negative last week and currently showing no signs or symptoms of COVID, tested positive on Saturday and is the only infective resident in Lourdes (and in Emmaus as a whole). A targeted nursing care plan for this resident will be implemented to minimise any risk of further spread to our remaining negative Lourdes residents.

As a result, the following arrangements are in place for residents of Lourdes House:

  • Window visits can be arranged for negative residents by contacting Reception
  • A limited number of risk-assessed visits in full PPE, which can be booked through Reception will be available each day
  • Outings will not resume until at least Thursday 3 March (unless we receive an earlier clearance from the PHU).

Residents of Pauls House are now able move around within their house and to receive some visitors (in line with other houses except Lourdes). Risk assessed outings for Pauls House will re-commence on Thursday 24 February.

All other residents of Emmaus are able to welcome one visitor for one hour per day (no longer limited to the resident’s primary contact person) in the resident’s room or suitable courtyard area.

Pre-planned, risk-assessed outings (including Church attendance) have resumed for Donnelly, Newman, Agnes, Peters, Mackillop and Joseph Houses as we tentatively make our way to a new ‘living with COVID’ normal.

Please note:

  • All visits must be pre-booked via Emmaus reception or by phoning (02) 6589 9800.
  • Check-in screening and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) are still required for visitors prior to entry. Visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to allow time for this process.
  • Every visitor is strongly encouraged to have had a COVID-19 booster shot before visiting.
  • With the opening of international travel, the easing of community restrictions and the current reported school related transmissions we all, at this time, need to maintain our vigilance and please do not enter an aged care service with even the mildest signs and symptoms.

If you would like to check in with a resident, or require a visit on compassionate grounds, please do not hesitate to contact us on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Take care and continue to stay safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

18 February 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #9: RESIDENTS CONTINUE TO DO WELL

The good news is there has been no increase in our COVID case numbers since our last update. In fact, we now have only two active COVID cases amongst residents.

These two residents remain in isolation in Lourdes House. They are very stable and doing well.  The other residents who contracted the virus have recovered. All other Emmaus residents are showing no sign of the virus and are, generally, well.

This result is due, in no small part, to the hard work and dedication of our staff as well as the co-operative support we have received from you, our residents and families.

The residents in Paul’s, although low to moderate risk, underwent Rapid Antigen Testing today and all returned negative results.  Residents in Paul’s house will be allowed to mobilise around their house with visitation commencing Saturday19 February for primary contacts only.

The visitor arrangements we put in place last week will remain for the time being as we await advice from the Public Health Unit (PHU).

These arrangements are:

  • Lourdes House is closed to visitors.
  • Paul’s House visitors will require to wear Full PPE
  • For the rest of Emmaus visits are limited to the person nominated as the resident’s primary contact in the resident’s room for 1 hour per day
  • Visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to visits to allow for Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT).
  • All visits must be pre-booked via Emmaus reception or by phoning (02) 6589 9800.
  • No outings are permitted except for exceptional circumstances or for medical appointments.
  • Visits required for compassionate reasons can be arranged via the service manager who will conduct a risk assessment prior to the visit to consider all risks involved, not only for residents, but also for those visiting.

We are cautiously optimistic that, once we receive the PHU advice, we will soon move into a phase of recovery where our routines, activities, outings and visitation get back to as normal as possible, bearing in mind that we all continue to live with COVID in our community.

Don’t forget if you would like to check in with a resident, you can contact us on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Thank you for understanding the need for increased restrictions over the past week while we worked together to get on top of virus – your kindness, support and patience is so appreciated.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

14 February 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #8: VISITATION CHANGES TO ADDRESS THE CURRENT OUTBREAK

Since our last update, the total number of positive COVID-19 residents has increased to 12, all of which are contained within Lourdes wing. Eight of these cases have been now classified as non-infectious with all being Day 9 or greater since the initial positive test. This leaves four COVID-19 positive residents, each at varying stages of infection.

One of these 12 cases is a resident from Pauls wing who was moved into Lourdes as a precaution to limit transmission to other parts of Emmaus. We do not believe this case is linked to the current outbreak at Lourdes. We will continue to monitor any Emmaus residents that display COVID-19 symptoms, but at this stage all are doing well.

As we continue to follow our Outbreak Management Plan, we will begin to implement additional protocols across Emmaus over the next seven days with the aim of eradicating the current outbreak as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this will mean visitation restrictions over that period.

From Tuesday 15 February, Pauls will be closed to visitors and this restriction will continue to apply to Lourdes. Additionally, visitor restrictions will apply across Emmaus limiting visits to the resident’s room for 1 hour per day only to those nominated as a primary contact. Visitors should allow 20 minutes prior to your visit for Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) to occur. All visits must be pre-booked via Emmaus reception or by phoning (02) 6589 9800. No outings will be permitted over this time except for exceptional circumstances or for medical appointments.

If a visit is required for compassionate reasons this can be arranged via the service manager who will conduct a risk assessment prior to the visit. This assessment will consider all risks involved, not only for residents, but also for those visiting.

Our staff will wear full PPE across more areas, limit their movements within Emmaus and continue to be regularly tested using RATs.

While these additional protocols are in place, we will continue our focus on the health and wellbeing of all residents with individualised plans to maintain as much normality as possible. We will also continue to provide regular updates and communication with the families of affected residents.

We appreciate your support while these restrictions are in place and hope they will be lifted soon to enable connections between residents and loved ones to resume.

Don’t forget if you would like to check in with a resident, you can contact us on (02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Thank you for your continued resilience and support during this time.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

7 February 2022

Dear Residents and families,

 

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #7: UPDATE ON LOURDES

Over the weekend, four more residents within the Lourdes wing at Emmaus tested positive for COVID-19. No other residents at Emmaus are unwell.

While this is not good news, our Outbreak Management Plan has meant we have been able to contain these positive cases to Lourdes only. Within Lourdes, our focus is to minimise transmission and maintaining the health and wellbeing of residents with as much normality as possible, and we are continuing to provide regular updates and communication with the families of affected residents.

Given the increase in COVID-19 cases at Lourdes it will remain closed to visitors until further notice. If a visit to a Lourdes resident is required for compassionate reasons this can be arranged via the service manager who will conduct a risk assessment prior to the visit. This assessment will consider all risks involved, not only for residents, but also for those visiting. Visitors to other houses of Emmaus will continue as per previous visitation advice.

At present the COVID-19 positive residents at Lourdes are not displaying severe symptoms, which we believe can be partly attributed to our vaccination program that administered booster shots to residents across all our residential services late last year.

We continue to meet regularly with State and Federal Government representatives to discuss any additional support or assistance they can provide during this outbreak.

We advise that while this outbreak is localised to Lourdes, all staff, residents and visitors must continue to be vigilant in following COVID-19 safe practices and procedures to ensure this current outbreak does not spread to other parts of Emmaus and into the community.

It is understandable that any increase in COVID-19 positive cases could increase anxiety among residents and families. However, our Outbreak Management Plan and our recent experiences provide us with the confidence and optimism to know that we will get through this together.

If you would like to check on a resident, please do not hesitate to contact Emmaus on
(02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Thank you for your continued resilience and support during this time.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

3 February 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #6: POSITIVE TESTS CONFIRMED AT EMMAUS

Further to my communication on 1 February, I am able to confirm that we have four residents that have tested positive at Emmaus. These residents are localised to the Lourdes wing at Emmaus, which is now closed to visitors until further notice. Currently no other residents at Emmaus are unwell.

Additionally, we have had staff return positive COVID-19 results and they are following the prescribed testing and isolating procedures.

Our immediate challenge is to do everything we can to minimise the possibility of COVID-19 transmission within Lourdes and further across the Emmaus site. Our proven method of dealing with outbreaks is managed through the activation of our Outbreak Management Plan which provide strict protocols for resident and staff movements, regular Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) and PCR testing, cleaning, contact tracing, implementation of specific infection control measures for Lourdes and across Emmaus generally as well as limiting external access to only essential visitors. All visitors to the other houses of Emmaus will continue as per our previous visitation advice.

If a visit to a Lourdes resident is required for compassionate reasons this can be arranged via the service manager who will conduct a risk assessment prior to the visit. This assessment will consider all risks involved, not only for residents, but also for those visiting.

With this current outbreak confined to Lourdes we are continually looking at new ways to centralise activities to prevent any cross-contamination. This has included changes to the way we handle food, linen and waste and using our sunroom areas for dining to ensure we minimise any chance of COVID-19 transmission.

We have contacted and met with the NSW Public Health Unit and are working with them closely based on their advice and our experiences. Part of NSW Government requirements now are that we must notify Service NSW whenever a resident tests positive for COVID-19. Even though, as part of our own processes, we will always notify the primary contact directly if this does occur, we are required to follow this process which will then also inform the family member via Service NSW.

I understand that the increase in COVID-19 positive cases at Emmaus may be cause for concern. However, I can assure you our Outbreak Management Plan, our experiences to date and our approach to caring for the holistic health and wellbeing of our residents are providing us with a good structure and a sound capability for dealing with the specific circumstance that COVID-19 brings.

If you would like to check on a resident, please do not hesitate to contact Emmaus on
(02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

1 February 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS ADVICE #5: RAPID ANTIGEN TESTING RETURNS POSITIVE TESTS

I am writing to let you know that two residents and two staff members at Emmaus have returned positive COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) results. The families of the two residents in Lourdes have been notified of the positive results. The staff members had previously worked in the Donnelly section of Emmaus.

As soon as were aware of the positive results, we activated our Outbreak Management Plan with strict protocols in place including; affected residents isolating as required, thorough cleaning of all possible infected areas, contact tracing of positive cases, implementing infection control measures that include staff wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and monitoring any signs and symptoms of staff and residents across the whole site.

Additionally, we have notified NSW Health’s Public Health Unit of the positive cases and we will be meeting with them tomorrow to consider any further advice or recommendations.

While RATs are a proven method of early detection of COVID-19, it is good practice to follow up with a PCR test to confirm any positive cases and we anticipate these test results will be received soon.

Due to the positive COVID-19 results of residents, Lourdes House will be closed to visitors for the next 48 hours. Visitors to residents in other parts of Emmaus are allowed but should continue to follow our current procedures including:

  • every visit must be planned and pre-booked with reception
  • residents may receive one visitor per day in their room for one hour
  • visits are between 10am and 3pm
  • outings are restricted to low-risk environments

I understand that these new cases may be of concern, however you can be assured that we are doing all we can to take the utmost care of residents and staff to minimise any further transmission of COVID-19.

If you are at all concerned about a resident, please do not hesitate to contact Emmaus on
(02) 6589 9800 or via email at [email protected].

We will continue to keep you updated with any additional information as it becomes available. Thank you for your patience and support during this time.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

17 January 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #4: RESIDENT HAS RECOVERED AND IS OUT OF ISOLATION

In a previous communication we advised that one of our residents had tested positive for COVID. We are pleased to report that this resident has recovered well and is out of isolation.

This good news has lifted all our spirits.

We greatly appreciate, and want to acknowledge, the care and dedication of our staff in helping achieve this outcome.

Thank you also to you, our residents, family and visitors, for your patience, cooperation, and support.

The situation with continuing high rates of COVID transmission in the local community remains concerning.

We continue to do all we physically can to manage risks around COVID exposures and to contain any possible outbreaks quickly.

Below are links to information about visitor arrangements and to NSW Health information on staying safe:

Staying on top of COVID is more than a team effort, it’s a community effort.

Thanks for being part of our community and for sharing the responsibility of keeping each other safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

10 January 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #3: NEW ADVICE RECEIVED ABOUT COVID TESTIING FOR VISITORS

I am writing to express my sincere thanks for the support you have given our staff as we continue to learn to live with COVID in our residential care services and in our everyday lives.

Each day presents us with new challenges – whether it is in managing the risks presented by COVID exposures or finding creative and safe alternate methods for maintaining visitation, outing opportunities and lifestyle activities for residents.

Today we received new advice from NSW Health in relation to Rapid Antigen (RAT) and PCR tests in residential aged care which we are pleased to report supports the way we have been managing our COVID risks. It also indicates that where possible visitors should undertake a RAT prior to visiting. We are currently investigating how we can facilitate and sustain this new requirement.

As most of you would be aware, RATs are expensive and in short supply. We are currently developing a visitation strategy that will address how we can delivery, monitor and evidence visitor RAT testing in our service.

We continue to manage COVID exposures, and the risks associated with them, across our services. It is imperative that visitors maintain strict PPE practice and maintain mask wearing throughout the whole of their visitation including when in the resident’s room. We have increased our resident and staff Rapid Antigen testing program and we are also monitoring residents for signs and symptoms of COVID at changing intervals throughout the course of each day.

Please remember, you are a vital link in our COVID risk management chain – you can help by:

  • providing us with early information about any exposure you’ve had that may increase your COVID risk (and ours)
  • staying home if you are not well, even with slight symptoms
  • planning and pre-booking visits through reception
  • cooperating with staff when asked to follow our COVID risk management practices such as wearing extra PPE (personal protective equipment) or taking a different path to the room of the resident you are
  • getting your booster shot as you soon as you are eligible
  • maintain the practices we know to reduce the risk of COVID transmission (ie face masks, hand hygiene, physical spacing and vaccination)

We are doing everything we can, as well as we can, with as much care as we can, to keep everyone safe.

Our strongest weapon against COVID is the good relationship we build with each other; sharing timely information that enables rapid response to the risks it presents (be it to a staff member, resident or visitor).

Your continued support is so appreciated.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

7 January 2022

Dear Residents and families,

EMMAUS 2022 ADVICE #2: EARLY DETECTION COVID SCREENING RETURNS POSITIVE TESTS

I am writing to let you know that a resident and a contractor at Emmaus have, in separate situations, returned positive results for COVID-19 after undertaking Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) as part of our ongoing early detection screening processes.

Currently, no-one else at the site is unwell. However, both situations are being closely monitored

The resident is isolating in their room with close contacts of the resident also isolating. Staff in Newman House are wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) as are visitors to the Newman House area.

It is important to note, there is a risk involved, not only for residents, but also for the person who visits so please consider this.

Like all staff at Emmaus, the contractor has undergone routine COVID screening and only returned a positive RAT prior to entering the facility this morning. There are 28 residents, who have been assessed as close contacts with a low to moderate risk level.

We have activated our Covid19 Outbreak Management Plan with strict protocols in place including:

  • Additional precautions for infection prevention and control
  • Regular RAT testing of residents and staff
  • Site access is limited to essential staff
  • Residents are being encouraged to wear masks indoors

I understand you may be anxious about the situation. However, I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our residents and staff.

We have notified the local Public Health Unit and are working with the relevant health authorities to minimise the spread of infection as quickly and safely as possible.

We continue to facilitate visits to residents as safely as we can and conduct a risk assessment prior to each visit. Current visitation arrangements are:

  • Every visit must be planned and pre-booked with reception
  • Residents may receive one visitor per day in their room for one hour
  • Visits are between 10am and 3pm

All staff and most residents have received two doses of COVID vaccine (most have also had boosters), both groups having taken advantage of the vaccination clinics we ran earlier this year.

Please be assured that we will continue to meet our responsibilities and deliver safe, quality care and services to all residents.

We will keep our lines of communication open to ensure you are updated regularly as we have more information.

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this challenging time.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

28 December 2021

Dear Residents and Families,

EMMAUS UPDATE #10:  LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS

This update is to let you know how you can continue to help us maintain our defences against COVID.

If you visited one of our services, or have been on an outing in the community, during the Christmas break and begin to show any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 please let us know as soon as possible so we can risk assess any precautionary measures we may need to implement.

It is important that we work together to keep each other safe.

We are still awaiting the results of Day 12 testing of residents in Joseph House but will keep residents and families advised as they come to hand.

The arrangements for visits and outings remain unchanged from our previous update (#9) which was released on 26 December.

Visits are limited to one hour, two visits per house per hour between 10am and 3pm. All visits are to be booked through reception.

Please continue to do all you can to follow these three simple steps to reduce the risk of contracting COVID or of, inadvertently, bringing the virus into our facilities:

  1. Wear a mask wherever possible, especially whilst visiting a resident at Emmaus
  2. Wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  3. Practice physical distancing – be social but be aware!

We truly appreciate the kindness and patience shown to staff as they observe the NSW Health requirements for people visiting and residents attending risk assessed family outings from Emmaus.

Take care and stay safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

26 December 2021

Dear Residents and Families,

EMMAUS UPDATE #9:  REDUCING COVID RISK DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Another Christmas has come and gone. I hope you were able to enjoy the day.

Thank you to everyone who supported our staff as we observed the NSW Health requirements for people visiting and resident risk assessed family outings on Christmas Day.

The Day 12 testing of residents in Joseph House, required by NSW Health, was conducted this morning. We expect these results to take a couple of days to come back due to the volume of testing statewide.

We received good news this afternoon that a potential COVID outbreak in Lourdes House (which we took precautionary measures against) did not eventuate. Residents of Lourdes House are now on the same level of restrictions for visits and outings as the rest of the service (see below).  Please note, all staff continue to wear masks and eye wear as standard PPE until further notice as a precaution to aid in the minimisation of any further risks.

No doubt you have been seeing and hearing about the increasing spread of COVID as more people move around the country during the holidays.  There are three simple steps we can all take to reduce the risk of contracting COVID or of, inadvertently, bringing the virus into our facilities:

  1. Wear a mask wherever possible
  2. Wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  3. Practice physical distancing – be social but be aware!

We continue to follow the NSW Health recommendations for receiving visitors and resident outings and ask, respectfully, for your cooperation as we implement them:

For visits

  • Wherever possible, visits should be in an outdoor area or in the resident’s room.
  • Visits should not be in any inside communal areas.
  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask over their nose and mouth while visiting indoors.
  • Residents are permitted to have two fully vaccinated visitors aged 12 years and over, plus two children aged under 12 years per day
    • Visitors aged 12 years and over must have received a second dose of a COVID vaccination at least 14 days prior to their visit.
    • Visitors are strongly encouraged to get a booster vaccine if they are eligible for one, and to have completed a negative Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) prior to entry
    • People who are providing a service to the resident (including a health or other professional service) are not counted as a visitor.

Visits are limited to one hour, two visits per house per hour between 10am and 3pm. All visits are to be booked through reception.

For Outings

Residents, who leave the facility to attend a family gathering, will on return:

  • Be required to have a series of rapid antigen tests, following a sequence of three negative tests.
  • Will not need to isolate if well.
  • If they develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, undertake a PRC test, and isolate immediately.

Other conditions for outings are as previously advised – residents are permitted to leave the facility and attend family gatherings or for other reasons but must abide by the current Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021.

Wishing you all the best for the New Year. Thanks again for supporting us to keep you safe.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

24 December 2021

Dear Residents and Families,

UPDATE #8:   NEW RECOMMENDATIONS FROM NSW HEALTH

As indicated by the Premier’s changes to COVID restrictions yesterday, we continue to be in a changeable, high risk environment.  We are monitoring the situation very closely and may need to change our requirements for visitation and outings at short notice.

As of this afternoon we have been advised by NSW Health that residents in Joseph House can de-isolate and move more freely around the service because their Day 6 COVID tests were all negative. Please note, residents in Joseph House will still undergo Day 12 COVID-19 testing on Sunday 26 December as a precautionary measure.

For residents of Lourdes House:

  • Only essential visitors (that is visitors essential to the wellbeing of the resident) can be received. These visits must be in the resident’s room and their visitor is required to wear full PPE.
  • Outings will be considered based on location and risk. We will personally discuss all Lourdes House outings with relatives on Christmas morning.

The systems we have in place promoting physical distancing and minimising crossover traffic between the Northside and Southside buildings, such as increased spacing in the dining areas, continue to work well. We are monitoring residents closely and are mindful of helping residents maintain important social connections during this challenging time. Thankfully, all residents continue to be well with no-one displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

NSW Health updated its visitation information for Residential Aged Care services overnight and we are following this advice, which includes recommendations that:

For visits

  • Wherever possible, visits should be in an outdoor area or in the resident’s room.
  • Visits should not be in any inside communal areas.
  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask over their nose and mouth while visiting indoors.
  • Residents are permitted to have two fully vaccinated visitors aged 12 years and over, plus two children aged under 12 years per day
    • Visitors aged 12 years and over must have received a second dose of a COVID vaccination at least 14 days prior to their visit.
    • Visitors are strongly encouraged to get a booster vaccine if they are eligible for one, and to have a negative Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) prior to entry
    • People who are providing a service to the resident (including a health or other professional service) are not counted as a visitor.

Visits are limited to one hour, two visits per house and are booked through reception.

For Outings

Residents, who leave the facility to attend a family gathering, will on return:

  • Be required to have a series of rapid antigen tests, following a sequence of three negative tests.
  • Will not need to isolate if well.
  • If they develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, undertake a PRC test, and isolate immediately.

Other conditions for outings are as previously advised – residents are permitted to leave the facility and attend family gatherings or for other reasons but must abide by the current Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021.

We ask for your patience and understanding if changes are required and, respectfully, ask that you follow any direction given by staff in facilitating visits or outings during the Christmas/New Year period.

Take care and stay safe during the holidays – and don’t forget, wherever possible wear a mask, maintain hand hygiene and practice physical distancing.

On a personal note, I extend my heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to Alan and his team for their service to you, our residents, and families.  Without them we wouldn’t function!

May Christmas and the New Year bring you all many blessings

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Dear Residents and Families,

UPDATE #7: VIGILANCE REQUIRED IN EVER-CHANGING COVID ENVIRONMENT

With COVID case numbers increasing across the state and the influx of visitors to the area, we continue to be in a high risk, ever-changing environment. We are monitoring the situation very closely and may need to change our requirements for visitation and outings at short notice. We ask for your patience and understanding if this occurs and, respectfully, ask that you follow any direction given by staff in facilitating visits or outings during the Christmas/New Year period.

We expect Day 12 COVID-19 testing of residents in Joseph House to be conducted on Sunday 26 December. It will take a couple of days for the results of these tests to come through.

Until then, NSW Health has advised that residents of Joseph House:

  • May leave their rooms but must stay within Joseph House.
  • Can receive essential visitors only (that is visitors essential to the wellbeing of the resident). These visits must be in the resident’s room and their visitor is required to wear full PPE and go directly to and from the resident’s room without delay before and after the visit.
  • Outings will be considered based on location and risk.

Residents in other houses can move around within their building utilising dining and outside areas, with physical distancing in place wherever possible.

We are continuing to minimise traffic across the Northside and Southside buildings and have developed a system where by the café is used by each building on alternate days with the appropriate cleaning protocols in place.

All residents continue to be monitored daily and are well with no-one displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

The arrangements for visits and outings that we notified you of in yesterday’s update (Update #6) remain unchanged. If you missed this update, please check your emails or visit the COVID section of our St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle website (www.sacal.org.au ) as we post these updates there regularly.

I’d like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Emmaus Residential Service Manager, Alan Pretty, and his dedicated staff to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas!

Take care and stay safe during the holidays – and don’t forget, wherever possible wear a mask, maintain hand hygiene and practice physical distancing.

May the New Year bring you all many blessings.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Dear Residents and Families,

All residents are being monitored daily and continue to be well with no-one displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

The COVID test results we were waiting on for residents in Joseph House (located in the Southside building) have all returned negative results. Joseph House residents will be in a modified lockdown until they receive a negative result after testing on Day 12 (after exposure) which is expected to occur on
Sunday 26 December. Until then, NSW Health has advised that residents of Joseph House:

  • Can now leave their rooms but must stay within Joseph House.
  • May receive essential visitors only (that is visitors essential to the wellbeing of the resident). These visits must be in the resident’s room and their visitor is required to wear full PPE and go directly to and from the resident’s room without delay before and after the visit.
  • Outings will be considered based on location and risk.
  • Residents in other houses are able to move more freely within their building utilising dining and outside areas, maintaining social distancing at all times. Cross building contacts between residents has been minimised and the café will be used by each building on alternate days.

NSW Health today also clarified visitor and outing arrangements for Emmaus over the Christmas weekend with conditions in place as follows:

  • Visitors must comply with NSW Heath conditions of entry for aged care services (eg must wear face masks, be fully vaccinated, no COVID symptoms, not awaiting COVID test results or under self-isolation order)
  • Essential visitors only (that is visitors essential to the wellbeing of the resident).
  • All visits to be pre-planned and booked through Emmaus reception
  • Two residents at a time in each house may have visitors in 1-hour time slots between 10am and 3pm
  • Visits to occur in outdoor spaces or in the resident’s room.
  • After hours visits require an individual risk assessment (contact the Residential Service Manager to arrange this)
  • Only two adult visitors per day per resident permitted.
  • Visitors are not allowed to enter communal areas in Emmaus.
  • Following the arrival screening process, a Rapid Antigen Test may also be required as a condition of entry.

As advised by NSW Health, the following conditions apply for resident outings:

  • Outings to be approved 24 hours prior following a risk assessment by the Residential Service Manager
  • Outings to be in resident family homes or open outdoor areas where social distancing can be maintained
  • Families are encouraged not to visit high community activity areas, pubs, clubs, shopping centres

Residents may leave the site to attend family gatherings or other outings but must abide by the Public Health (COVID-19 General Order) 2021. They must not go into any location where a person is awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test or is in isolation as a result of contracting COVID-19.

Families should take into account the current NSW Health advice (eg physical distancing, hand hygiene and face masks) when planning outings or gatherings and, for the added protection of their loved one, may wish to consider taking a voluntary COVID-19 test (e.g. a rapid antigen test) prior to the event.

We will continue to monitor closely the NSW Health advice and management protocols and keep you updated as changes occur.

Please be patient with us as we go through the processes required to facilitate visits and outings – our main aim is to ensure a safe visit and a happy, healthy Christmas season for all.

In situations where you may need to visit a resident at end of life please contact the Residential Service Manager to arrange this.

All updates are posted on our St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle website (www.sacal.org.au ) so please share them with family and friends.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to phone Donnelly House on 02 5525 3600 with your enquiry and we will do our best to help you get the information or help you are seeking. I take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and to thank you, again, for your
support during the challenges of the last 18 months and, especially, during these last few weeks.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Dear Residents and Families,

All residents on at Emmaus continue to be well with no-one displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19. On the advice of NSW Health, most residents are no longer required to isolate in their rooms and can move more freely across the facility utilising dining, café and outside areas. Social distancing should be
maintained at all times. Joseph house (located in the Southside building) will remain in lock down until the results of follow up tests, with results for these tests are expected later this evening. In this house staff will remain in full PPE and residents can move around whilst being supported by our Clinical, Care, Lifestyle and Pastoral and Spiritual Care teams.

Visitor arrangements

Visitation has resumed for all areas of Emmaus (except in Joseph House) with strict conditions in place per advice from NSW Health. These conditions include:

  • Visits to occur between10am and 3PM
  • Visits are pre-planned and booked with reception
  • Visits to occur in outdoor spaces or in the resident’s room.
  • After hours are limited and require an individual risk assessment (to be arranged by contacting the service manager
  • Visitors must comply with NSW Heath conditions of entry for aged care services (eg fully vaccinated, no COVID symptoms, not awaiting COVID test results or under self-isolation order)
  • Only two adult visitors per day per resident permitted.
  • Visitors are not allowed to enter communal areas in Emmaus.

If you may have been in an area of distant contact with COVID 19, please notify reception. Following the arrival screening process, a Rapid Antigen Test may also be required as a condition of entry. Please be patient with us as we go through the processed required to facilitate visits – our main aim is to ensure a safe visit and a happy, healthy Christmas season for all.

Resident Outings

Residents may leave the site to attend family gatherings or other outings but must abide by the Public Health (COVID-19 General Order) 2021. They must not go into any location where a person is awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test or is in isolation as a result of contracting COVID-19.

Families should take into account the current NSW health advice (eg physical distancing, hand hygiene and faces masks) when planning outings or gatherings and, for the added protection of their loved one, may wish to consider taking a voluntary COVID-19 test (e.g. a rapid antigen test) prior to the event.

We will continue to monitor closely the NSW Health advice and management protocols and keep you updated as changes occur.

All updates are posted on our St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle website (www.sacal.org.au ) so please share them with family and friends.

Thank you, again, to our residents, families, staff, suppliers and contractors who have all worked with great cooperation to meet the ongoing challenge that is COVID. We are all in this together. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to phone Donnelly House on 02 5525 3600 with your enquiry
and we will do our best to help you get the information or help you are seeking.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Dear Residents and Families,

As you know, Emmaus has been in lockdown since a staff member tested positive to COVID-19 last Friday.

All residents since tested have received negative results. At this stage, all residents on site are well with no-one displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Emmaus is a large site made up of two connecting buildings with 4 houses in each.

  • Northside (Donnelly, Newman, Paul’s and Lourdes houses)
  • Southside (Joseph, Peter’s, Agnes’ and Mackillop houses)

On the advice of NSW Health, most residents are no longer isolating in their rooms and can move more freely across the facility utilising dining, café and outside areas. Social distancing should be maintained at all times. Joseph house will remain in lock down until the results of follow up tests, which have been collected this afternoon. Results for these tests are expected within 48 Hours. In this house staff will remain in full PPE and residents can move around whilst being supported by our Clinical, Care, Lifestyle and Pastoral and Spiritual Care teams. NSW Health has advised that visitation for all areas of Emmaus (except in Joseph House) can recommence tomorrow 21 December 2021 with strict conditions in place.These conditions for visits
include:

  • Visits to occur between10am and 3PM
  • Visits are pre-planned and booked with reception
  • Visits to occur in outdoor spaces or in the resident’s room.
  • After hours are limited and require an individual risk assessment (to be arranged by contacting the service manager
  • Visitors must comply with NSW Heath conditions of entry for aged care services (eg fully vaccinated, no COVID symptoms, not awaiting COVID test results or under self-isolation order)
  • Only two adult visitors per day per resident permitted.
  • Visitors are not allowed to enter communal areas in Emmaus.

If at all you are concerned that you may have been in an area of distant contact with COVID 19, please notify reception. Following the arrival risk screening process, a Rapid Antigen Test may also be required as a condition of entry. Unfortunately, this is not an exact science and we will be closely monitoring the changing advice and management protocols of NSW Health.

Our Outbreak Management continues to serve us well. We are always looking for ways to strengthen our defenses and improve our processes. We are extremely grateful to our residents who continue to display amazing resilience, to their families whose patience has been of tremendous support, and to our teams on the ground at the Emmaus Site whose outstanding dedication to the people they serve is an inspiration.

All of these updates are posted on our St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle website (www.sacal.org.au ) so please share them with family and friends.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to phone Donnelly House on 02 5525 3600 with your enquiry and we will do our best to help you get the information or help you are seeking.

Kind Regards

Bronwyn Chalker 

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Dear Residents and Families,

UPDATE #3: INITIAL COVID-19 TESTS ALL NEGATIVE

With all Emmaus residents tested, we have received negative results for everyone. Our next steps are to consult with the NSW Health Public Health Unit to determine our best course of action.

While we still remain under lockdown restrictions at present, we are still very conscious that Christmas is less than a week away and it is a very important time for bringing our residents and their families together. We anticipate that we will be able to provide more clarity over the next few says as to what this will means for Christmas visits and outings for our residents.

Both staff and residents have been very resilient in dealing with the added challenges of infection control measures and testing. Even though we had to cancel a group BBQ yesterday, we replaced it with a roast chicken and chips dinner, which all residents enjoyed immensely.

Staff continue to be tested before commencing their shifts and are wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). A deep clean of Emmaus was finalised yesterday as part of our Outbreak Management Plan infection control measures.

Don’t forget, there are lots of ways you can stay in touch while Emmaus is closed to visitors. You can:

  • Phone Donnelly House on 02 5525 3600 with your enquiry and we will take the details and call you back with an answer or arrange for an appropriate person to call you back.
  • If the resident has a phone, please continue to communicate with them as you usually do.
  • If you wish to speak to a specific resident who does not have a phone, we will arrange a call back for you with staff at the service.
  • Book a facetime session with your loved one through our Lifestyle staff so that you can stay in touch and help keep their spirits up during this challenging time. These sessions can be booked directly by emailing: [email protected] (or phoning the enquiry line at Donnelly House)
  • Check our website for updates at: sacal.org.au

Thank you for your patience and please keep us in your prayers. We will continue to provide regular updates as we receive more information.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Dear Residents and Families,

UPDATE #2: COVID-19 PLAN ACTIVATED AT EMMAUS

As referred to in yesterday’s update, I would like to update you on the situation at Emmaus where a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Since the case was confirmed yesterday:

  • all 113 residents have been tested and we are awaiting the results of these initial tests
  • all staff are undergoing testing before starting their shifts
  • infection control measures are in place as per our Outbreak Management Plan including staff
    wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • a deep clean of Emmaus commenced this morning
  • only essential staff are allowed onsite

Staff and residents are working well together to abide by the requirements of our Outbreak Management Plan, which requires residents to isolate in their rooms in the first instance. You can be assured that our focus is on the health, safety of our staff and residents not only from clinical perspective, but staff are regularly checking in on residents from a wellbeing perspective as well. Residents in our dementia support unit are being mobilised around their House while staff are maintaining appropriate PPE measures.

We recognise that our communication is vital over this time and have provided the following options to facilitate contact between residents and families:

  • Phone Donnelly House on 02 5525 3600 with your enquiry and we will take the details and call you back with an answer or arrange for an appropriate person to call you back.
  • If the resident has a phone, please continue to communicate with them as you usually do.
  • If you wish to speak to a specific resident who does not have a phone, call Donnelly House and we will arrange a call back for you
  • Book a facetime session with your loved one through our Lifestyle staff so you can stay in touch and help keep their spirits up during this challenging time. Facetime sessions can be booked directly by emailing: [email protected] (or phoning the enquiry line at Donnelly House)
  • Check our website for updates at: www.sacal.org.au

We are very appreciative of your support at this time and we will continue to keep you updated.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

I am writing to let you know that a staff member who worked at Emmaus Residential Care in the past week has tested positive for COVID-19.

Currently, no-one else at the site is unwell.

As soon as the case was confirmed, we activated our Outbreak Management Plan, which was developed to manage such a situation. Strict protocols are in place to support the effectiveness of this plan including:

  • additional precautions for infection prevention and control
  • site access is limited to essential staff
  • the site is closed to visitors

At this stage, I can advise that all residents are isolating in their rooms and that further testing has commenced for residents and staff.

I understand this news may be distressing for you and your family. However, I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our residents and staff.

We are working closely with the relevant health authorities, particularly the local Public Health Unit, to minimise the spread of infection as quickly and safely as possible. The situation is being closely monitored.

All staff are fully vaccinated, and most residents have taken advantage of the vaccination clinics we ran earlier this year. You may be aware that earlier this week a staff member at St Agnes’ House also tested positive for COVID-19, however these cases are unrelated.

Please be assured that we will continue to meet our responsibilities and deliver safe, quality care and services to all residents.

We will keep our lines of communication open to ensure you are updated regularly. We will have more information tomorrow.

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this challenging time.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

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