Resident update - Monday 20 September
Dear residents and family members,
On Saturday a part-time agency employee who works at Ryman Healthcare’s Highton construction site tested positive for COVID-19 after contracting the virus in the community.
While the case poses an extremely low risk to residents, staff and visitors to the operational part of the village, I wanted to let you know about it at the earliest opportunity.
What’s the situation?
- The source of the virus has been traced to a friend of the Highton worker who she spent time with on the evenings of Saturday, September 11 and Monday, September 13.
- The employee, who had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, first experienced symptoms on Wednesday, September 15 and got tested immediately. That test was inconclusive, she had a second test, and that came back positive on Saturday.
- The Department of Health and Human Services believes it is most likely she contracted the virus on the evening of Monday, September 13 after finishing work for the day. If that is the case, she posed no risk to other workers at the Highton construction site because she did not return to work there after that day.
- There is a small chance she contracted the virus on the Saturday evening, in which case it’s possible she was infectious while working at the construction site on Monday.
Yesterday morning we contacted all our construction staff and contractors to inform them of the positive case and told them that anyone who worked on the site on Monday, September 13, must get tested urgently and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
We have carried out a deep clean of the construction site and, out of an abundance of caution, have done the same at the village centre, including the reception area and all shared facilities.
Neither the construction site nor the village have been identified as a COVID-19 exposure site but we decided to take this step voluntarily as a precaution.
Is there any risk to the village?
As many of you know, our Highton construction site has its own dedicated entry/exit point and is separated from the operational part of the retirement village by a high temporary fence.
No one working at the construction site is allowed to enter the village grounds or buildings without formally notifying the village manager first. If they need to carry out work at the village, they must undergo a COVID-19 rapid antigen test and return a negative result before entering.
Four of our construction workers entered the village on Monday the 13th to carry out work in the cinema and activities room. One of the workers briefly entered the aged care centre. That staff has since had a full PCR COVID-19 test, which has come back negative.
Because these precautions were in place, and because it’s unlikely the staff member was infectious while on site, the risk to village residents, staff and visitors is extremely low.
As always, though, if you experience any flu-like symptoms please get tested urgently and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.
What happens next?
The construction site will be closed today to allow time for affected workers’ test results to be confirmed.
No person who worked at the site on Monday, September 13 will be allowed to return to work without showing us evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result.
Now we’ve taken a range of steps to contain any risk to others, our primary concern is for the health and wellbeing of the affected worker.
We spoke to her as soon as we became aware of her positive test result and will remain in regular contact to check on her welfare. We have offered her every support for a speedy recovery.
I’ll keep you updated as more information comes to hand, and certainly no later than the end of this week.
Victorian Operations Manager
We know you’ve probably seen this before, but a reminder that the symptoms to watch out for include:
• a cough
• a high temperature (at least 37.5˚C)
• shortness of breath
• a sore throat
• sneezing and runny nose
• temporary loss of smell
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