Swan Hill aged care home goes into lockdown

SWAN Hill District Health (SHDH) has slashed the number of visitors permitted following a fresh case of COVID-19 in the rural city.

Just one person is allowed in the health service per patient, per day after Swan Hill local government area recorded its fifth case on Sunday.

"While we understand restrictions on visitations have been difficult for both patients and their loved ones, this is not a decision we make lightly," chief executive officer Peter Abraham said.

The restrictions began on Tuesday, while visiting hours remain 2pm until 4pm daily.

Masks are available at the screening station upon entry. Visitor access to the midwifery ward remains unchanged, with one partner/support person able to be present.

Patients in the emergency department are also able to have one support person.

Other screening requirements and restrictions, including temperature testing upon entry remain in place.

Mr Abraham said the decision to tighten the restrictions on visitors had been made in an effort to protect both staff and patients.

"The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving and we are seeing outbreaks across the state," Mr Abraham said.

"The confirmed COVID-19 case in Swan Hill this week is proof that our rural post code does not make us immune from these outbreaks.

"As a health service we acknowledge the importance of visitors to patients and their loved ones, but ask for understanding and cooperation with these measures as our staff continue to work hard to protect and care for the community throughout this pandemic."

Meanwhile, Alcheringa aged care home in Swan Hill has been put into precautionary lockdown due to the spike in cases across Victoria.

Respect, the company that manages the home, said that meant there will be no visitations allowed, expect on compassionate grounds.

"We understand this may cause frustration in some instances, however, we believe this is the best method of mitigating the risk to our residents. We know the coronavirus is particularly dangerous to older people, and can easily be spread through community transmission," Respect said in a statement.

"It is critical we take every possible step to avoid exposure in Victoria and for this reason we have deemed the risk too high to allow visitations in our Victorian homes.

"We understand some family members would appreciate more notice of the lockdowns, however, this would encourage a rush of family and loved ones entering the homes prior to the lockdown being implemented, increasing the risk to residents.

"Loved ones can be contacted by telephone and video chat facilities if they wish to do so. If you would like to speak with your loved one by video chat, please don't hesitate to contact the home your loved one resides in so this can be arranged."

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 at any home run by Respect.

The decision will be reviewed on Monday.