• Tony Bosworth

Hawkesbury Living - 24 COVID cases – 7 staff, 17 residents – 32 Commonwealth staff on site



As well as the high number of cases at the home in Richmond’s March Street, revealed to us today by the Department of Health, we’ve also been told by the Department that a non-compliance notice was issued to the facility on Wednesday.


A Notice of Requirement to Agree to Certain Matters was issued to Hawkesbury Living by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission due to “non-compliance with the Quality Standards in relation to a COVID-19 outbreak at the site”, says the Department.


Following the non-compliance notice, an independent Nurse Advisor has been appointed and has also been onsite, says a Department of Health spokesperson.


We had been promised a media release this week from Hawkesbury Living’s CEO Kimberley Talbot but while that has not appeared, we can confirm since 10 August, 17 residents have been identified as COVID positive. This is in addition to 7 staff members who have also been identified as COVID positive.


Some 32 Commonwealth staff – 15 of them clinical – are onsite as part of what the Department calls “a surge workforce arrangement” which helps to fill staff shortages and fill shifts.


"The Commonwealth is providing extensive support through case management, workforce surge and Clinical First Responders and working collaboratively with the staff onsite and the Local Health District to manage the outbreak and ensure safe practices and care of residents," said the spokesperson.


"This support continues to play a crucial role in stabilising the situation at this facility," said the spokesperson.


However there’s also a patient transfer underway to hospital for some residents with the Commonwealth working alongside Hawkesbury Living, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, and the Local Health District.


“The Commonwealth is supporting the safe transfer of residents to hospital,” said the Department’s spokesperson.


Hospital transfers are being considered based on the advice of the Local Health District and the independent Nurse Advisor, the Dept of Health says. This includes residents who are COVID positive, those who are considered close contacts and therefore considered at risk of becoming positive, and other residents where hospital transfer may be considered appropriate, they said.

“There is ongoing cooperation between the State and Federal health authorities."


The Commonwealth provided vaccination clinics for residents at the home during April, May and June and that does mean vaccination rates are high among residents, with 92 per cent having received at least one dose of an approved COVID vaccine and 89 per cent fully vaccinated.

Some families with residents at the home have complained to the Post over the last week about what they see as a lack of transparency, but the Department of Health says support to families and residents is being provided by Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), and has included a virtual meeting for families and residents which the Deputy Chief Medical Officer also attended on Wednesday and another meeting is scheduled for today – August 27.


“Significant effort is being made to provide families with as much information as possible,” said the spokesperson.


Macquarie MP Susan Templeman has also been following developments closely at the home and she told us this evening, “it’s entirely appropriate that the Commonwealth is involved in responding to this serious outbreak.

“The safety and welfare of residents and staff involved at Hawkesbury Living is paramount, and we should all be pleased that a high proportion of residents are fully vaccinated.


"However, families deserve to know that decisions about the care of their loved ones are being made to ensure they receive the best possible medical treatment, should their health deteriorate.

“It is still extremely concerning that not all aged care workers have received vaccines, given they were meant to be vaccinated by Easter.


"There is an urgent need for a vaccination hub in the Hawkesbury so that we can move faster to limit spread from this site into the rest of the community.”




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