Australian in Nursing Home is Nation’s Third Coronavirus Death

By AAP
March 7, 2020 Updated: March 7, 2020

A man in his 80s has died after contracting coronavirus in his Sydney aged care home, taking Australia’s nationwide death toll to three.

The 82-year-old was on Wednesday confirmed to have COVID-19 after he picked up the virus from an infected aged care worker in her 50s at BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Macquarie Park.

He died overnight in hospital, chief health officer Dr. Kerry Chant said.

The man’s death follows that of a 95-year-old woman and fellow Dorothy Henderson Lodge resident and a 78-year-old man in Perth.

Some 74 Australians have tested positive to the coronavirus, and figures are expected to further climb.

An extra 260,000 masks will be immediately released from the federal stockpile to primary health networks, deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said.

The government has also secured an extra 54 million face masks for national medical stockpiles, expected to arrive by the end of April.

“We realised that personal protective equipment for our healthcare workforce and our aged care workforce is absolutely fundamental. We need to make sure that they are kept safe,” Professor Kelly said on Saturday.

NSW Health confirmed two new coronavirus cases overnight—a Ryde Hospital health care worker in her 30s and a woman in her 50s.

Sydney Nursing Home Residents In Isolation After Aged Care Worker Is Diagnosed With Coronavirus
A general view of Dorothy Henderson Lodge in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park in Sydney, Australia on March 5, 2020. (Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

The health care worker had been in contact with an infected person from the Macquarie Park aged care facility, but the means by which the woman in her 50s caught coronavirus remains undisclosed.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged community calm and said health authorities were working on reducing the virus’ spread.

She reminded the public coronavirus was not fatal in most cases and only of major concern in patients of advanced age or with associated health issues.

“My biggest worry is not about getting it myself but unintentionally passing it on to others,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Sunday.

New cases were on Saturday also announced in Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania.

The latest Victorian case is Dr Chris Higgins, who treated 70 patients at The Toorak Clinic in Melbourne’s southeast during the week. The doctor and his patients, along with staff, are now required to self-isolate.

Two patients Dr. Higgins visited in a Malvern nursing home are in isolation.

Dr. Higgins, aged in his 70s, had a mild cold after returning from the USA on Feb. 29 and returned to work two days later as his symptoms settled.

Meanwhile, four more Australians have been caught up in another cruise ship coronavirus emergency off the coast of California.

Travel bans are in place for arrivals from South Korea, China and Iran, while those flying in from Italy will undergo advanced screening.

The government is reportedly finalising a A$5 billion stimulus package amid the outbreak including reducing deeming rates for pensioners, providing local councils with funding and expanding business instant asset write-offs.