A COLLABORATIVE initiative between Mildura Base Public Hospital, Barratt and Smith Pathology and Jacaranda Village will see asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 carried out at the Red Cliffs aged care facility on a weekly basis.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has requested that asymptomatic testing be carried out at all public sector aged care facilities in Victoria.

The testing is taking place in the wake of hundreds aged care residents being infected by health care workers bringing the disease into facilities in Melbourne, which sadly led to many deaths.

Asymptomatic testing is carried out on people who aren’t showing any coronavirus symptoms, as opposed to symptomatic testing where people have shown symptoms.

Jacaranda Village Acting Director of nursing Adam Ormesher said that this measure was another layer of protection being introduced to the strict protocols already in place at Jacaranda Village.

Infection Prevention and Control Coordinator at Mildura Base Public Hospital Fleur Manno said that the action was being taken as part of the state’s mechanism to opening up aged care facilities.

“Among many other practices, the health authorities now wish to implement asymptomatic testing for clinical and non-clinical aged care workers,” Ms Manno said.

“Basically anyone who sets foot into an aged care facility is asked to participate in the testing.”

Ms Manno said that those workers in regional locations, as opposed to a metropolitan setting, would be asked to undertake the test at least once a month and it is anticipated the program would run for the next three months, after which it would be reviewed in January.

“It’s about providing assurances not only to the families of residents, but to the residents themselves,” she said.

“As a vulnerable and valuable group in our society, we should be doing everything that we can to ensure they feel safe and are protected from COVID -19.”

Jacaranda Village is Sunraysia’s only publicly operated aged care facility and other aged care operators in this region will be asked by the federal government to participate in the same program, on a voluntary basis.

“As the local Primary Health Service, the Mildura Base is advocating that this testing be carried out in line with DHHS advice and to assist Jacaranda to implement their program,” Ms Manno added.

“It’s a great collaborative effort between our local pathology provider Barrat and Smith who have come on board to operate weekly clinics.”

Jacaranda Village has opened its doors on a limited basis to family and friends of residents and residents may also go on outings during the day.