As the COVID outbreak continues to grow in Albury, with a number of cases at an aged care facility near the border, residential homes in Wagga say they're feeling prepared and have strict safety measures in place.
"We have been preparing for quite some time," Forrest Centre CEO Evan Robertson said.
"Wagga as a town, we've probably been a little bit lucky that we haven't been in this position, or worse, yet."
At least 14 residents and two staff members at the Mercy Place aged care facility in Albury have tested positive to COVID-19, with the Albury LGA recording a total of 150 cases.
The Murrumbidgee Local Health District multi-purpose services, which include residential aged care facilities, have restrictions in place where two fully-vaccinated visitors can attend for up to two hours a day.
Dr Len Bruce, MLHD's executive director of medical services, suggested that these restrictions remain unchanged.
"I can assure the community that that is being managed as per the facilities' outbreak management plan, with support from the Commonwealth and the appropriate local health district," he said of Mercy Place.
Mr Robertson said that Forrest Centre's aged care facilities already have strict COVID controls in place, however they are "being more vigilant" amid the Albury outbreak.
He said that conversations are occurring with staff around travel to Albury, as well as refreshers on COVID prevention and control. They are also working with the MLHD to keep up-to-date on what is happening around the region.
"In a way this is what we've been preparing for for a while," Mr Robertson said.
"We have been training now for a good 18 months, two years for this."
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Miranda Jose, who works in administration at The Haven in Wagga, said their facility also has strict COVIDSafe measures in place, and staff are prepared.
Like all nursing home facilities currently, visitors have to be fully-vaccinated, and The Haven is also taking precautions and monitoring when residents need to leave the facility for appointments.
Ms Jose said that families are being kept up-to-date with frequent emails, and residents are thrilled to be receiving visitors once again following the recent lockdown.
Mr Robertson said the "key to all of this" is for people to get vaccinated against the virus. Discussions are occurring around booster shots for aged care residents and staff, and he said this could be rolled out as early as next month.
"Which will be great for our residents [as] one of the first cohorts to be vaccinated," Mr Robertson said.
"The closer the experience we have with COVID, certainly the more prevention [we need]."
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