News Coronavirus More aged-care cases as WA outbreak grows
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More aged-care cases as WA outbreak grows

Mark McGowan WA COVID-19
WA Premier Mark McGowan has tested positive to COVID-19 while isolating with his family. Photo: AAP
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Western Australia’s Omicron outbreak is continuing to spread through aged care homes amid ongoing concern over low test numbers.

The state recorded 38 new local infections on Sunday, taking the state’s active case tally to 506 with no one currently in hospital.

An outbreak linked to Juniper’s Cygnet residential care home in the Perth suburb of Bentley has grown to 17 cases, including eight residents and four staff.

The facility, which accommodates people living with dementia, has been indefinitely closed to visitors.

Juniper chief executive Chris Hall said residents were being closely monitored and all staff and volunteers were undertaking rapid antigen tests prior to every shift.

“I would also like to confirm that no Cygnet staff members have worked at any other Juniper site since the infection was first detected last week,” Mr Hall said.

Brightwater Care Group on Sunday said two fully vaccinated residents at The Cove in Mandurah had tested positive.

All staff and residents are being tested and the facility has been closed to visitors.

A second Mandurah facility, the Coolibah Care retirement village, is also testing residents and staff after an agency worker returned a positive rapid antigen test.

WA continues to add to its stockpile of RATs but Premier Mark McGowan says PCR testing will remain the preferred method for now.

State-run PCR clinics remain well below capacity with just 4395 people tested in Sunday’s reporting period.

“The chances are that there are cases out there we don’t know about — probably in large numbers — but we are encouraging people to get tested,” Mr McGowan told reporters.

Australian Medical Association WA president Mark Duncan-Smith has speculated the number of cases in the WA community could be up to five times higher than the reported figures.

The government is close to introducing new public health social measures which are likely to include density limits at venues.

Currently, WA has an indoor mask mandate and a requirement to provide proof of vaccination to enter virtually all public venues.

“We haven’t actually made a decision on when (further restrictions) will come in, but at some point in time they will come in,” Mr McGowan said.

– AAP