Australia’s aged care regulating authority was accused of a “catastrophic communications failure” after delaying for four days to report a Covid-19 case at Melbourne’s St. Basil’s aged care home to the federal government.
A total 28 people lost their lives and over 160 were infected; some of the casualties could surely have been prevented had the health authorities been informed in time of a staff member that was found to be infected on July 8.
St. Basil’s aged care home is part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and nine Greek-Australians died with the coronavirus in the facility.
According to The Guardian newspaper, Australia’s Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson wrote to the Senate committee on Friday to clarify that the commission had learned on July 10 that a facility staff member had tested positive for the virus on July 8.
However, last week, Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy told the committee that the department had first learned of the case on July 14. Anderson had previously said she was personally not aware of the St. Basil’s case until the same day.
The Labor Party’s aged care spokeswoman, Julie Collins, called the four-day delay a “catastrophic communications failure,” adding that it “led to a potentially deadly delay in responding to the outbreak.”
Both Australia’s Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck and Health Department Minister Brendan Murphy said that it took almost a week for the federal government to learn of Melbourne’s largest aged care home outbreak. Both officials detailed various failures in the handling of the St. Basil’s Covid-19 incident and were critical of the actions taken by the state government.