A Wagga nursing home operator says he and his staff are on high alert following the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Melbourne and Sydney.
The Forrest Centre chief executive operator Evan Robertson, who oversees 156 residents and about 200 staff across two nursing homes, said he was "obviously very concerned" by the wave of COVID-19 sweeping Victorian nursing homes.
"Some of the things that are happening in aged care down in Victoria, that's just terrible and we really feel for our colleagues down there," he said.
Nursing homes have become an epicentre of the virus in Victoria, where 683 active cases are linked to outbreaks across 61 aged care facilities, most of them privately operated.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews told media yesterday he would not want his elderly mother to be in some of Victoria's nursing homes.
The Murrumbidgee Local Health District's new restrictions on its aged care facilities came into effect yesterday and mean only one visitor per resident will be allowed at any time, with visits restricted to an hour.
Mr Robertson said both Loretto Home of Compassion and Mary Potter Nursing Home had not been accepting drop-in visitors for several months.
"We do have some restrictions just on who can enter nursing homes at the moment but I must say compared to a month or six weeks ago there are a lot less restrictions," he said.
Mr Robertson said his staff were doing "a magnificent job" of keeping residents happy and safe.
"We're adhering to all the restrictions from the department of health around people who have been to Victoria and the excluded local government areas in Sydney," he said.
He said residents had taken to FaceTiming and other new technology "pretty well", but some would be feeling isolated or lonely while being separated from their loved ones.
"There's no substitute for a visit from your family but we've done our best to make sure everyone's active and occupied," he said.
Wagga nurse Sue Ryan, whose 102-year-old mother Lettie Lockett lives at the Forrest Centre, said she thought some nursing home residents would be experiencing "mental anguish".
"My mum understands, she knows why it's happening. But for people who don't understand that must be worse," Mrs Ryan said.
"But I find that we're not allowed to go in as often as we have been, she doesn't cope well with that at all."
President of the Wagga Senior Citizens' Club Jim Weeden said he thought the city's elderly people currently living by themselves would be feeling very lonely "looking at the four walls day and night".
Mr Weeden said he was worried about the impact another local outbreak would have on Wagga's nursing homes.
"I think we keep an eye on things out in the bush ... But we're only a small community - if something like that happened here I think it would spread pretty quick," he said.