As aged care facilities around the country battle COVID-19 outbreaks, with nearly 10,000 people infected with the virus, the federal government says older Australians are safer than in the two previous years.
As the country weathers its third Omicron wave, the latest data from the Department of Health and Aged Care reveals there are 9906 active COVID-19 cases in 1064 residential aged care facilities across the country.
Of those, 6360 cases involved residents while 3546 were staff, the data released on Friday showed.
There have been more than 77,000 COVID cases in aged care residences since the start of the pandemic and 3394 deaths, compared to a national death toll of 12,000.
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Aged Care Minister Anika Wells has written to her state counterparts about mask-wearing at facilities.
From Monday, vaccination rates for aged care homes will be published online to help drive up fourth dose rates around the country, she added.
“That’s all part of the winter plan that I’ve brought in … to try and make sure that all aged care facilities, all of our older Australians and their families and the aged care workers that look after them, are better prepared than they have been in previous winters,” she told Nine Network on Monday.
“I think they are safer this winter than they have been for the previous two years in the pandemics,” she said.
“We have new weapons to fight COVID that we didn’t have previous winters.”
Vaccination rates had increased 20 per cent since Labor came to office two months ago, she said.
“And we have the antiviral treatments which we have recommended as best practice to be offered to any resident who gets COVID in aged care facilities,” she said.
“So hopefully the severity of this is less this time around.”
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
* NSW: 9471 cases, 7 deaths, 2323 in hospital with 69 in ICU
Victoria: 7678 cases, 3 deaths, 773 in hospital with 50 in ICU