Newmarch House deaths hit 19 as COVID-19 toll hits 100

Anglicare Newmarch House deaths hit 19 bringing COVID-19 toll to 100

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Family asks why COVID-positive residents at Anglicare's Newmarch House have not been moved to hospital.


Questions are being raised about why COVID-positive residents at Anglicare's Newmarch House have not been moved to hospital.

Alice Bacon, 93, died early on Tuesday at the aged care facility in Sydney's west, taking the national COVID-19 death toll to 100.

On Facebook, her daughter Mary Watson said her mother did have underlying health issues "but up until two weeks ago she was a happy and busy lady inside and outside of Newmarch".

"Mum fought hard to stay with us," she said.

Nineteen residents of the Anglicare-run home have died after contracting coronavirus and a further 71 cases are associated with the facility at the centre of one of the country's worst outbreaks.

Elizabeth Lane's 84-year-old mother Rose Davies has severe dementia and is a palliative care resident at Newmarch House.

Ms Lane said she is concerned about the effect the lockdown is having on residents who are being shut in their rooms.

Elizabeth Lane took this photo of her mum Rose Davies during a recent visit.

Elizabeth Lane took this photo of her mum Rose Davies during a recent visit.

"I can't help but wonder why the remaining positive residents haven't been transfered to hospital," she said.

"Surely then [Anglicare] can get on with returning life to normal for the majority of residents who have been isolated and locked down for over four weeks now."

She said the only positive element to her bed-ridden mother's condition "means she is less exposed to other residents" and repeated calls for better lines of communication between families and Anglicare, saying relatives are still being kept in the dark.

"Yet again, we are hearing about the death of another resident through the news, rather than Anglicare," she said.

Ms Lane's comments come after Anglicare chief executive Grant Millard said this week that "in hindsight" he would have sent all COVID-19 positive residents at Newmarch House to hospital immediately.

The home has been in lockdown since mid-April when a healthcare worker tested positive after working six shifts.

Mr Millard told ABC Radio on Monday things should have been done differently, and suggested the decision to keep infected residents at the facility came from government.

He said the organisation complied with NSW Health's containment strategy after the outbreak and anyone who wanted to be hospitalised after contracting COVID-19 was accommodated.

Other residents have been isolated in their rooms and treated inside the facility.

Anglicare said it has been working closely with the NSW and Commonwealth governments to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and that there had been no new positive diagnoses of COVID-19 of residents at Newmarch House since April 30.

"Our deepest sympathies go to the resident's family as they grieve the loss of their loved one," it said in a statement.

"We are devastated at the passing of this well-loved member of the Newmarch House community. We are continuing to provide the best level of care possible to our residents and we appreciate the ongoing support of the Commonwealth and NSW Governments."

On May 8 Andrew Kinkade was appointed as an adviser to Newmarch House, following a demand from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission that the operator appoint an independent advisor or face having its licence to operate revoked.

The latest news comes as four Melbourne aged care facilities have gone into lockdown after a resident at each facility was tested for coronavirus.