St Agnes’ Site COVID-19 Response

Stay connected with the latest updates.

24 October 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE 221024 – UPDATE ON COVID AT ST AGNES’ HOUSE

Further to our advice on 12 October, I am very pleased to report that the two St Agnes’ House residents, who tested positive for COVID were released from self-isolation yesterday.

If results from routine testing remain negative, the Public Health Unit and Department of Health and Aged Care has indicated that the outbreak will be declared closed on Wednesday.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their diligence during this outbreak, especially:

  • The staff for maintaining infection control principles and following our COVID plan; and
  • our impacted residents for adhering to the self-isolation

Please note, even though COVID self-isolation rules have changed in the general community, they still apply for residents and visitors to aged care services (see NSW Health guidelines).

We ask visitors:

  • to pre-book visits with reception ([email protected] or 02 6584 1996)
  • to allow time for our screening processes prior to entry
  • to follow the instructions of staff while on site, which may (at times) include being asked to wear additional PPE
  • not to visit if unwell or displaying even slight COVID or flu like symptoms
  • not to visit if you have been in contact with any person that has tested positive for COVID in the previous 48 hours.

If you are worried about anything, or are not sure of the COVID protocols for visiting St Agnes’ site, we welcome your call on 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House or via email to [email protected]

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

12 October 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE 221012 – NEW COVID CASE DETECTED AT ST AGNES’ HOUSE

I am writing to let you know a new COVID case has been detected at St Agnes’ House, which is part of the St Agnes’ Site. We also awaiting confirmation of results for another resident who is displaying symptoms. Both affected residents are isolating and receiving appropriate medical advice.

We have notified the local Public Health Unit and are following their advice regarding any follow-up PCR testing required.

We have also activated our Outbreak Management Plan and have implemented the following protocols:

  • Additional precautions for infection prevention and control
  • Close monitoring of the affected resident who is isolating in their room
  • Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) for all residents and staff
  • Additional cleaning has been undertaken
  • Full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being worn by staff caring for the affected residents and those visiting them

Please note, if a resident does return a positive 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.

At the time of writing, no new cases have been reported at Maryknoll or Mt Carmel.

We ask visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception ([email protected] or 02 6584 1996)
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on

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, please reschedule your visit for when you are well.

If you are worried about anything, we welcome your call on 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House or via email to [email protected].

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

14 September 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #11 – OUTBREAK CLOSED AT MARYKNOLL

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.

Visitor arrangements continue to be, as follows:

  • pre-book visits with reception on 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House or via email to [email protected].
  • keep visits brief
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.

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

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

7 September 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #10 – PCR TESTS NEGATIVE AT MARYKNOLL

We are pleased to report that the follow up Day 6 PCR tests conducted for residents in Maryknoll have all returned negative results.

The three Maryknoll residents with active COVID cases are doing well and are nearing the end of their isolation period (one resident tomorrow and the other two on Friday).

Per advice from the Public Health Unit (PHU), we will do another round of PCR testing at Maryknoll on Monday (12 September) as a final check before this outbreak is declared closed. We are grateful everyone – residents, families, and staff – who has helped us through this significant and challenging time.

At the time of writing, no new cases have been reported at St Agnes’ House or Mt Carmel.

Visitor arrangements remain unchanged, as follows:

  • pre-book visits with reception on 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House or via email to [email protected].
  • keep visits brief
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.

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.

If you are worried about anything, please give us a call on the above phone numbers 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

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

1 September 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #9 – MARYKNOLL OUTBREAK – RESIDENTS DOING WELL

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.

Our continued surveillance testing at Maryknoll detected two new cases yesterday bringing our total active COVID cases there to eight.

We are working closely with the local Public Health Unit and following their advice with follow up testing for Maryknoll residents on Day 6 on Monday (5 September) and Day 14 on 12 September.

At the time of writing, no new cases have been reported at St Agnes’ House or Mt Carmel. One resident of St Agnes’ House who previously tested positive is doing well on antiviral medication and is expected to be out of isolation in the next few days.

We are continuing our rapid antigen (RAT) surveillance testing to monitor for any possible new cases.

The eight Maryknoll residents, who have tested positive for COVID are in good spirits and are receiving antiviral medication per medical advice.

Residents are also being kept informed about the risks posed by this latest outbreak and many are choosing to minimise the time they spend frequenting the indoor common areas.

Please note, if a resident does return a positive 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.

Visitor arrangements remain unchanged, as follows:

  • pre-book visits with reception
  • keep visits brief
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.
  • Please do not visit if you are unwell or displaying flu or COVID like signs or symptoms

Thank you for your continued vigilance around COVID safe practices (wear masks in environments where 1.5 metre distancing is not possible, maintain hand hygiene, and stay up to date with COVID vaccine boosters).

Please call us if you have any concerns on 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House or via email to [email protected].

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

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

23 August 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #8 – CASES INCREASE TO SEVEN AT MARYKNOLL

As a result of follow up PCR testing at Maryknoll, five residents have tested positive for COVID bringing the total cases in this outbreak to seven.

The affected residents are doing well, and their cases are being managed in consultation with their doctors.

We are working with the local Public Health Unit to minimise the spread of any infection as quickly and safely as possible. Per their advice, further PCR testing of all residents will take place later in the week.

In the meantime, we are monitoring all residents across the service for the earliest signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness.

Residents are also being kept informed about the risks posed by this latest outbreak and most are choosing to minimise the time they spend frequenting the indoor common areas.

Please note, if a resident does return a positive 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.

At the time of writing, no new cases have been reported at St Agnes’ House or Mt Carmel. We are continuing our rapid antigen (RAT) surveillance testing to monitor for any possible new cases.

Visitor arrangements remain unchanged, as follows:

  • pre-book visits with reception
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.
  • Please do not visit if you are unwell or displaying flu or COVID like signs or symptoms

We ask everyone to continue maintaining COVID safe practices (wear masks in environments where 1.5 metre distancing is not possible, maintain hand hygiene, and stay up to date with COVID vaccine boosters).

If you are worried about anything, we welcome your call on 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House or via email to [email protected].

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

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

12 August 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #6 – ROUTINE SCREENING PICKS UP ONE NEW COVID CASE

The COVID situation at St Agnes’ House and Maryknoll has remained relatively stable during the last week. Although, as we have all learned over the past couple of years, this can change at any time.

To keep you in the loop, here is an update on the current situation:

At Maryknoll, our routine screening processes picked up one new case. As soon as this was identified the resident affected began antiviral medication and is isolating in their room. Further surveillance testing will be carried out with all residents next week.  The four, previously reported, positive residents are now recovered and out of isolation, which is good news.

At St Agnes’ House, the latest round of PCR tests returned negative results for all residents. The one resident previously reported positive is now also out of isolation.

Visitor arrangements remain unchanged, as follows:

  • pre-book visits with reception for either site on [email protected] or by phoning 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.

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 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 (wear masks in environments where 1.5 metre distancing is not possible, maintain hand hygiene, and stay up to date with COVID vaccine boosters).

It has been said often ‘We are all in this together’ and it is so true. Our teams rely not only on each other to protect the residents they serve, but also on you to play your part.

We are extremely grateful to you all for the cooperation, care and love you show in supporting us as we work to minimise the effects of COVID at St Agnes’ site.

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

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

5 August 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #5: RESIDENTS RECOVERING WELL

I am writing to provide a quick update on the current COVID situations at Maryknoll and St Agnes’ House, which are both part of St Agnes’ Site.

  • Maryknoll
    • The four residents who tested COVID positive over the last week are receiving antiviral therapy under medical direction and are recovering well
    • We have received the results of a surveillance round of PCR tests conducted on Monday and are pleased to report all other residents have returned negative results
    • The next round of scheduled PCR testing will be conducted early next week
  • St Agnes’ House
    • The previously reported outbreak at St Agnes’ House was closed by the Public Health Unit on Tuesday
    • Unfortunately, a resident who had displayed symptoms returned a positive result on Wednesday
    • Routine surveillance testing was undertaken for all residents yesterday and all residents have returned negative results

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.

We ask all visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception for either site on [email protected] or by phoning 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on

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.

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

We especially recognise the efforts of our staff on this Sunday 7 August which is Aged Care Employees Day. Thank you to everyone for your sincere good wishes, co-operation and prayers during this challenging time.

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

2 August 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #4: CONTINUED TESTING PROVES VITAL

We have been following the advice of the Public Health Unit as we manage COVID at Maryknoll and St Agnes’ House, which are both part of St Agnes’ Site. The testing regime we are following is proving vital in picking up new cases early.

After advising our negative Day 6 PCR test results for residents affected by the outbreak at Maryknoll last week, routine testing over the last few days has detected a further four cases in addition to the case detected late on Friday. This saw residents undertake a new round of precautionary PCR testing on Monday. We are waiting for the results of these tests. The residents who currently have COVID are receiving antiviral medication under medical direction and are doing well.

At St Agnes’ House, we have one COVID positive resident, who is nearing the end of their isolation period and we are hope we will be able to close this outbreak soon.

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.

We ask all visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception for either site on [email protected] or by phoning 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.

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.

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 challenging time.

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

29 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #3: SITUATIONS STABLE AT MARYKNOLL & ST AGNES’ HOUSE

I am writing to provide a quick update on the current COVID situations at Maryknoll and St Agnes’ House, which are both part of St Agnes’ Site.

Here is what is happening at each site:

  • Maryknoll
    • The two residents who tested COVID positive last week are recovering well and following advice from Public Health the outbreak has been declared over.
    • We have received the results of a surveillance round of PCR tests and unfortunately a resident has returned a positive result, this is not related to the previous outbreak.
    • All other residents at Maryknoll remain well and have returned negative PCR results.
  • St Agnes’ House
    • The two residents who tested COVID positive are in isolation and resting comfortably.
    • Day 6 PCR testing was undertaken yesterday and all residents tested returned negative results.

We remain vigilant as we continue to follow Public Health advice and work to minimise the risk of COVID transmission on site, per our Outbreak Management Plan.

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.

We ask visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception for either site on [email protected] or by phoning 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.

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

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

25 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE #2: COVID UPDATES FOR MARYKNOLL & ST AGNES’ HOUSE UPDATE

Over the weekend the COVID situation at both Maryknoll and St Agnes’ House remained relatively stable although a St Agnes’ House resident, who was identified as a close contact of the case that emerged late on Friday, has returned positive rapid antigen test (RAT) result this morning.

Here is an update on what is happening at both sites:

  • Maryknoll – there are two residents (who tested COVID positive last week) still in isolation. All other residents are well and no longer keeping to their rooms. Precautionary RAT testing was undertaken today for other residents, all of which have returned negative results.
  • St Agnes’ House – As stated above, two residents have tested positive for COVID. Both have received medical advice and are in isolation and resting comfortably. Precautionary RAT testing was undertaken today for other residents, all of which have returned negative results.

All residents are being monitored for any signs and symptoms of respiratory illness and should anyone return a positive 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.

We continue to work with the local Public Health Unit and relevant health authorities in managing the cases and to minimise the risk of COVID transmission on site, per our Outbreak Management Plan. Accordingly, we have implemented the following protocols:

  • Additional precautions for infection prevention and control
  • Close monitoring of the affected resident who is isolating in their room
  • Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) for all residents and staff
  • Additional cleaning has been undertaken
  • Full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being worn by staff caring for the affected residents

We ask visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception for either site on [email protected] or by phoning 02 6584 1996 for Maryknoll or 02 6583 3811 for St Agnes’ House
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.

We truly appreciate your continued support, understanding, and COVID vigilance during these challenging times.

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

22 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

ST AGNES’ HOUSE ADVICE #1: RESIDENT TESTS POSITIVE THIS AFTERNOON

Since writing this morning with the news of no new cases at Maryknoll, we have had a resident at St Agnes’ House, which is also part of St Agnes’ site, test positive for COVID-19 after Rapid Antigen Testing. This result is being followed up with PCR testing.

Other residents at the site are well at this stage and are keeping to their rooms until the situation is fully risk assessed. All are being monitored for any signs and symptoms of respiratory illness.

We have activated our Outbreak Management plan and are making preparations to do precautionary PCR tests on all residents at St Agnes’ House as soon as possible.

Per our plan, we have implemented the following protocols:

  • Additional precautions for infection prevention and control
  • Close monitoring of the affected resident who is isolating in their room
  • Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) for all residents and staff
  • Additional cleaning has been undertaken
  • Full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being worn by staff caring for the affected residents

Please note, if a resident does return a positive 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.

We ask visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception ([email protected] or 02 6584 1996)
  • keep their visits brief and
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, while on site.

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

Please be assured we are doing everything we can, with as much care as we can, to keep our residents and staff safe.

We will keep our lines of communication open to ensure you are updated regularly.

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

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

22 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

MARYKNOLL ADVICE #5: DAY SEVEN TEST RESULTS

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

Per NSW Health advice, PCR testing for all residents was undertaken on Wednesday (20 July) and, apart from the four residents who were positive, all test results have been negative, which is good news.

If a resident does return a positive 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.

We continue to monitor all residents across the service for the earliest signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness.

Visitation arrangements remain unchanged from our previous communication.

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.

We still need your help, however, in minimising the risk of COVID transmission in our services to protect both residents and staff.

Please stay vigilant and keep up the good work around maintaining 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).

If you would like to check on a resident, or are concerned about anything, please do not hesitate to contact reception ([email protected] or 02 6584 1996).

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

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

18 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

MARYKNOLL ADVICE #4: TWO MORE CASES DETECTED

Over the weekend a further two residents test positive for COVID bringing the total cases in this outbreak to four. All these residents are doing well at this time and, in consultation with our treating medical officers, have started on antiviral medication.

Per our correspondence on Friday (15 July) and NSW Health advice, we will undertake another round of PCR testing for all residents again on Wednesday (20 July). In the meantime, all residents across the service are being monitored for the earliest signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness.

If a resident does return a positive 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.

We ask visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception ([email protected] or 02 6584 1996)
  • enter the service via the main reception area only & complete screening processes prior to entry
  • keep their visits brief
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, on site
  • stay home if unwell, even with slight symptoms.

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.

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).

If you would like to check on a resident, or are concerned about anything, please do not hesitate to contact reception ([email protected] or 02 6584 1996).

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

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

15 July 2022

Dear Residents and families,

MARYKNOLL ADVICE #3: PCR TESTS CONFIRM POSITIVE CASES FOR TWO RESIDENTS

Further to my letter yesterday, I am writing with an update on COVID at Maryknoll (which is part of St Agnes’ site).

We have received all results for the PCR testing undertaken with residents yesterday. PRC testing has confirmed positive COVID results for two residents – negative results were received for all other residents. Per NSW Health advice we will re-test everyone again on 20 July.

The two Maryknoll residents, whose COVID cases were confirmed by PCR results today, continue to do well and are receiving antiviral medication per medical advice. Residents identified as close contacts continue to isolate in their rooms and are being monitored regularly.

If a resident does return a positive 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.

We continue to operate under the protocols of our Covid19 Outbreak Management Plan, which include:

  • Additional precautions for infection prevention and control
  • 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
  • Additional cleaning being undertaken
  • Full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being worn by staff caring for the affected residents
  • Working with, and taking advice from, the NSW Public Health Unit

We ask visitors to:

  • pre-book visits with reception ([email protected] or 02 6584 1996)
  • enter the facility only via the main reception area and complete screening processes prior to entry
  • keep their visits brief
  • follow the instructions of staff, which may include being asked to wear additional PPE, on site
  • stay home if unwell, even with slight symptoms.

As you would be aware, community COVID cases are on the rise and many residential care services within our region are, like us, are experiencing COVID outbreaks and the difficulties associated with such outbreaks. We deeply appreciate anything you can do to help us minimise the risk of COVID transmission in our community. Some of the ways to do this are by :

  • Creating space for each other (stay 1.5metres apart)
  • Wearing a mask when 1.5m distancing is not possible
  • Staying at home if even slightly unwell
  • Staying up to date with vaccinations

Thank you for you your support and patience. Please be reassured we are doing everything we can, as well as we can, with as much care as we can, to keep everyone safe.

Kind Regards

Tracy Baker

Manager St Agnes’ Site Residential Care

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

12 April 2022

Dear Residents and Families,

ST AGNES’ SITE 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. 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 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.

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,

ST AGNES’ SITE ADVICE:  UPDATED VISITING PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS

As there has been no increase in our COVID-19 case numbers since our last update, visitation arrangements will be changing for St Agnes’ Site and to align with NSW Health guidelines. Advice to residential aged care facilities – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (nsw.gov.au).

  • Residents are permitted to have two fully vaccinated visitors aged 12 years and over, plus two children aged under 12 years per day.
  • 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 St Agnes House on (02) 6583 3811 or Maryknoll & Mount Carmel (02) 6584 1996 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.
  • Up to two children under 12 years are permitted to visit provided they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated person.
  • Babies and toddlers under 3 years of age should not wear a mask as it is a choking hazard.
  • 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) 6584 1996 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 

10 January 2022

Dear Residents and families,

MARYKNOLL ADVICE #2: GREAT NEWS MARYKNOLL RESIDENTS OUT OF ISOLATION

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.

Our Maryknoll residents are no longer in isolation, which is welcome news! The site is again receiving visitors each day between 10am and 3pm. Please plan and pre-book your visits through reception.

Today we also 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.
  • 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 visiting.
  • 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,

MARYKNOLL ADVICE #1: COVID SCREENING RETURNS POSITIVE TEST FOR ONE RESIDENT

I am writing to let you know that a resident at Maryknoll, which is part of St Agnes’ site, has tested positive for COVID-19 after undertaking a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) as part of our ongoing early detection screening processes.

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

As soon as the case was identified, we activated our Covid19 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
  • Regular RAT testing of residents and staff
  • Maryknoll access is limited to essential staff
  • Maryknoll is closed to visitors until Monday

From Monday 10 January, if a visit is required for compassionate reasons this can be arranged but please contact the service manager who will conduct a risk assessment prior to the visit. There is a risk involved, not only for residents, but also for the person who visits so please consider this.

At this stage, I can advise that all Maryknoll residents are isolating in their rooms until the situation is fully risk assessed and will be monitored regularly.

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.

There are no current cases at either St Agnes’ House or Mount Carmel, both of which remain open to visitors as per previous advice (St Agnes’ House Update #11 released 26 December).

The current situation is being closely monitored. Residents at all three houses are being encouraged to wear masks.

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,

 

ST AGNES’ HOUSE UPDATE #12: 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.

Late yesterday we received the last of the Day 12 COVID-19 test result for residents in St Agnes’ House and are pleased to report that all returned negative results. This means operational routines have returned to relative normality, which is good news.

The arrangements for visits and outings remain unchanged from our previous update (#11) which was released on 26 December.

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 our services
  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 St Agnes’ House, Maryknoll or Mount Carmel.

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,

ST AGNES’ HOUSE UPDATE #11:  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 residents attending risk assessed family outings from St Agnes’ House, Maryknoll or Mount Carmel.

Results for the Day 12 COVID-19 tests for residents in St Agnes’ House are trickling in. Some are still outstanding, but all results received to date are negative.

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:

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.

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,

ST AGNES HOUSE UPDATE #10:  STILL AWAITING DAY 12 COVID TEST RESULTS

Just an update to let you know that we are still awaiting the Day 12 COVID-19 tests for residents in St Agnes’ House. These tests were required by NSW Health and were conducted on 23 December.

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

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.

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

I’d like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the St Agnes’ Site Residential Service Manager, Tracy Baker, and her dedicated staff to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas!

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

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 

20 December 2021

Dear Residents and Families,

UPDATE #9: ST AGNES’ HOUSE TO RETURN TO NORMAL OPERATIONS
We shared in our update yesterday that all residents received negative results in the latest round of  COVID testing.

St Agnes’ House residents are still required to undergo a final round of COVID testing on 23 December  per NSW Health protocols.

Unless the situation changes, this will be our last daily update for St Agnes’ House as NSW Health has  given us clearance to return to normal operations.

Residents are no longer restricted to their rooms and can receive visitors per the NSW Health visitor guidelines for residential aged care services.

Arrangements for Visitors
Residents are permitted two fully vaccinated visitors (12 years and over) and two children (under 12 years) per day. All visitors must check-in via our screening system at the main entrance and are required to wear face masks whilst visiting.

NSW Health has given direction to exclude any visitors who:

  • Are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to visiting, except for children under 12 years.
  • Have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have had a COVID-19 test and are waiting on the test result.
  • Are a close or casual contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 unless they have completed their self-isolation and testing requirements
  • Are under a self-isolation order
  • Have been to a country of concern in the last 14 days
  • Have been to any other countries in the last 14 days unless they are: Fully vaccinated and at  least 7 days have passed since their arrival in NSW and they have received a result from their day 6 test.

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 when planning outings or gatherings and, for the added protection of their loved one, may wish to consider taking a voluntary COVID-19 test (eg a rapid antigen test) prior to the event.

During this situation, our Outbreak Management Plan has enabled us to work effectively to minimise risk for our residents. We are returning to normal operations but are aware and ready to face any challenges yet to come.

Our first line of defence against a COVID outbreak in our residential care environment is for each of us to be vigilant in protecting ourselves from possible infection by:

  • Wearing faces masks
  • Maintaining good hand hygiene (using sanitizer/washing hands regularly)
  • Being mindful of physical distancing, especially when in more crowded environments

Thank you, again, for the cooperation and support you gave to our clinical and care teams at Mt Carmel, Maryknoll and St Agnes’ House this past week. It has made all the difference to them being able to do their jobs in this very challenging situation.

God bless you all for a safe and happy Christmas.

Kind Regards

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care & Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle 

Dear Residents and Families,

UPDATE #8: NEGATIVE COVID-19 RESULTS AT ST AGNES’ HOUSE

At the time of issuing our update to you yesterday, we were yet to have received the COVID-19 test results for all our residents. However, the great news is that late last night we received results for our residents, and all were returned as negative.

This means that, from tomorrow, residents can begin de-isolating from their rooms and start receiving visitors. It is important that everyone understands and accepts the conditions for visiting residents and the risk assessment to be undertaken by the Service Manager prior to taking residents on any outings.

Across all of St Agnes’ House we will continue to follow NSW Health guidelines, which will include the final stage of testing on 23 December and setting ourselves on a course out of COVID-19 restrictions.

Our staff will continue to do rapid antigen testing prior to the commencement of shifts. They will also continue to wear masks and gloves but are not required to be in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when they are working.

With everything that has happened over the past week, I am uplifted and encouraged by the latest test results. I cannot thank staff, residents and their families enough for their commitment over this challenging time. Even though we are more certain of our pathway out of this situation, we still need to follow our Outbreak Management Plan and remain focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents.

Please keep us in your prayers for a steady transition out of our current environment in the lead-up to Christmas.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Dear Residents and Families,

UPDATE #7: ST AGNES’ HOUSE TEST RESULTS RECEIVED

We started to received test results from this morning and it is great news that so far residents have returned negative COVID-19 results from the latest round of testing conducted yesterday. Once all results have been received (if negative) residents will be able to move out of their rooms and we are on track open up St Agnes’ House more widely.

It was important that we followed NSW Health guidelines for initial testing and the subsequent round of tests, which happens on Day 6 (yesterday). The guidelines require further testing to take place in six days before we are given approval to operate as we were before the positive COVID-19 case was identified.

In the meantime, staff will continue to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and social distancing for residents will still be observed eg at meal times and in any communal areas.

If all results are negative, from Monday, residents will be able to receive fully vaccinated visitors in their rooms and will be able to go on outings, but only after a risk assessment is conducted by the Service Manager. These outings should be limited to visiting home environments and not to high-risk public places. No group outings will be able to occur until after negative results are received from the final round of testing on 23 December.

While these negative results are great news, we should all be wary of the high prevalence of COVID-19, particularly the Omnicron variant, that is present in our community. We are optimistic about our pathway out of COVID-19 for St Agnes’ House residents, but we all should remain cautious and diligent about the risks to all in our residential care services.

I thank you, and all staff and residents, for the support over the past week. Everyone’s commitment, resilience and willingness to work together has been fantastic and I look forward to our residents enjoying more freedoms over the following days.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

With Maryknoll and Mount Carmel now out of lockdown, we are focused on what we need to do to lift the lockdown restrictions at St Agnes’ House.

As mentioned in our update yesterday, a second round of testing of St Agnes’ House residents begins today and we expect to receive these results over the next few days. If these test results are negative, we will bring residents out of their rooms and they will be able to move more freely within St Agnes’ House.

Enabling residents to leave their rooms is an important step for residents’ wellbeing and in our journey towards bringing St Agnes’ House out of lockdown. We continue to work closely with NSW Health as to the next steps on this journey. The most recent advice we received is that limitations on group activities and gatherings should be in place at St Agnes’ House until the last round of testing on 23 December.

The wellbeing of residents continues to be a priority and our staff are constantly on hand to help with meals, activities and social interactions. A special Christmas lunch was provided to all residents today, which by all reports they have enjoyed immensely.

Our Outbreak Management Team will continue to meet over the weekend to provide you with regular updates. Remember, 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.

Thank you for your continued support.  Please keep us all in your prayers.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

Our prayers continue to be answered at St Agnes’ site with no positive COVID cases from the test results received so far.

The Mount Carmel and Maryknoll buildings are out of lockdown and residents are now able to move more freely around the facility. Visitors are now, also, permitted on site at these two locations.

St Agnes’ House, however, remains in lockdown as follow-up tests need to be conducted for these residents per NSW Health requirements. These tests will begin on Friday.

We are thankful to the residents at St Agnes’ site, whose good and patient spirits have lifted ours.

We are particularly conscious that our St Agnes’ House residents will have to remain in lockdown until NSW Health gives us the all clear to lift restrictions.

Along with the care and clinical staff, the Lifestyle team and members of the Pastoral & Spiritual Care team are on site to engage with residents at St Agnes’ House as their lockdown continues. They are helping with one-on-one activities, meal deliveries and, simply, taking the time to have a chat.  The Parish also organised for the delivery of some magazines and puzzle books for residents to help them pass the time in lockdown.

Family and friends are encouraged to contact residents. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • 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, phone Donnelly House on 02 5525 3600 and 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 at St Agnes’ House, Mt Carmel or Maryknoll so that 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):

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.

Thank you for your continued support. Please keep us all in your prayers.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

As you know Mount Carmel, Maryknoll and St Agnes’ House, which are all part of St Agnes’ site, have been in lockdown since a staff member at St Agnes’ House tested positive to COVID-19 last Sunday.

Resident testing at Mount Carmel and Maryknoll is complete and we have received negative results for all residents. On the advice of NSW Health, residents will be able to move more freely around the facility from this afternoon. It is anticipated that we will be able to welcome visitors back to these two sites from noon tomorrow.

The situation at St Agnes’ House, however, requires more caution as it is the location where the staff member who tested positive worked.

While we have received negative results for all tests so far, we are following the advice of the local Public Health Unit about the need for residents to be re-tested.

We are expecting these follow-up tests to be conducted on Friday afternoon. For now, St Agnes’ House will remain in lockdown.

All staff continue to undergo rapid antigen testing prior to the commencement of each shift.

We have also been advised, in an unrelated case, that another staff member, who has not worked on site since the middle of last week, has been diagnosed with COVID-19. NSW Health has confirmed that this case is not related to the current situation at St Agnes’ House. Our thoughts and prayers are with them for a speedy recovery.

The Outbreak Management Plan that we have developed and practiced over the last 18 months continues to serve us well. We are continually looking for ways to strengthen our defences and are ready to manage the situation.

Everyone has a part to play in helping us get through situations like this in a calm and effective way.

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 St Agnes’ 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.

Thank you for your continued support. Please keep us all in your prayers.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

So far, the news is good – the test results received so far for staff and residents have all returned a negative result. We are, however, still awaiting more test results for residents and are continuing to prepare for the situation if we do receive any positive results over the coming days.
Regardless of the test results received in this round of testing, residents may need to be tested again in a few days per NSW Health protocols.
All staff continue to undergo rapid antigen testing prior to the commencement of each shift.

Mid North Coast Health continues to work closely with our team, checking our readiness and providing advice and feedback on the Outbreak Management Plan we have in place to manage the situation if it escalates.

Don’t’ forget, there are lots of ways you can stay in touch while the St Agnes’ Site services are still closed to visitors are:

  • 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 at St Agnes’ House, Mt Carmel or Maryknoll so that 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 (www.sacal.org.au) for updates.

Privacy laws mean that we can only release information to the resident’s authorised contacts so when you contact us, we may need to verify this.
If you are an authorised contact, we ask that you share these updates with the resident’s other family members, too, as this will help us tremendously with managing our communication to you all.

Thank you for your continued support. Keep us all in your prayers as this situation continues to unfold.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Chalker

General Manager, Care and Community Services 

St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle

As promised, this letter is to provide an update on the situation at St Agnes’ House where a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.

Since the case was confirmed yesterday afternoon:

  • all residents have been tested and we are awaiting the results of these initial tests. Regardless of the result, everyone will be tested again in a few days as per the NSW Health protocols.
  • Staff are being tested consistently prior to the commencement of each shift
  • Mid North Coast Health staff are working closely with our teams as we monitor the situation
  • Staff have been wearing Personal Protective Equipment to minimise any spread of infection
  • Experienced cleaning staff are working to deep clean the site

As you would expect, our total focus at the moment is on health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in our care, however, we recognise your need to know the best channels for communicating with us about your loved one.  Privacy laws mean that we can only release information to the resident’s authorised contacts so when you contact us, we may need to verify this.

Communication options for you while the site is still closed to visitors are:

  • 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 at St Agnes’ House, Mt Carmel or Maryknoll so that 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):

Thank you for your continued support.  Keep us all in your prayers as this situation continues to unfold.

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 works at St Agnes’ House, which is part of St Agnes’ site, has tested positive for COVID-19.

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

As soon as the case was confirmed this afternoon, 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 at St Agnes’ House.

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.

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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