By Alesha Capone
Lalor MP Joanne Ryan has called on the federal government to be “more transparent” about the number of people in aged care who have died due to COVID-19.
She said she was “aghast” that Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave incorrect figures when asked last week how many coronavirus cases had been linked to Baptcare Wyndham Lodge.
Ms Ryan said 17 residents from Baptcare have died due to COVID-19 as of August 31.
Before August 31, seven residents were hospitalised due to coronavirus. Sixty residents and 97 staff, including 37 contractors, had tested positive.
Ms Ryan said it was important to acknowledge “the tragedy of their passing”.
She praised Baptcare and the Glendale Aged Care Facility in Werribee for their openness in reporting coronavirus cases to the wider community.
and called on the federal government to fix “systematic issues” within the aged care sector.
Ms Ryan said minimum staffing level requirements were needed in aged care homes, along with adequate supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment) and better infection control training for employees.
“I want a guarantee from the Prime Minister that this system that he funds and runs is doing this kind of thing,” Ms Ryan said.
Baptcare chief executive Graham Dangerfield said: “Baptcare remains completely focused and committed to providing the best care for all residents and supporting their wellbeing, health and safety, and that of our staff.
“Since the first case was detected at Wyndham Lodge, Baptcare has provided all staff with full personal protective equipment and undertaken frequent cleaning of the premises that meets the COVID-19 requirements of DHHS and WorkSafe.
“We understand this a very challenging time for residents and their loved ones, which is why we are committed to communicating daily and being transparent of all our efforts to make Wyndham Lodge a COVID-free community once more.”
When questioned on August 31, Mr Morrison said there had been 10 deaths, four residents hospitalised, 80 residents and 86 staff who had tested positive to COVID-19 Baptcare Wyndham Lodge.
The Prime Minister’s office was contacted for comment.