After fighting for what seems like forever to keep Covid-19 and outsiders out of our State, we succumbed a few weeks ago.
A bit like the perennial question of the chicken and the egg, the hand of the State government was forced by both pressure from business leaders and citizens feeling the pain caused by being locked in and the fact that Covid-19 in the form of Omicron had started making its way through our closed borders.
So, we have been open for a little more than a week now and daily new Covid-19 case numbers are today nearly 3,600 and total cases in this State now exceed 26,000. However, there have been relatively few hospitalisations and almost no one needing to be admitted to Intensive Care Units. Although there have been 3 deaths to date since our borders re-opened the victims were suffering from other co-morbidities at the time.
Covid-19 did make its way into a number of aged care facilities in the State. Most, if not all of the aged care facility residents who contracted Covid-19 have since recovered and aged care facilities in Western Australia are once again Covid free.
Of course, the virulent nature of the virus means that aged care facilities can not take anything for granted. Restrictions on visitor numbers have been re-introduced – although the particularly draconian measures first introduced have been wound back a little – and there are requirements for masks at all times. Some facilities now require even visitors to provide evidence of a contemporaneous negative RAT Test before allowing entry.
Undoubtedly the fact that such a high percentage of our population has been double or triple vaccinated is the major reason why we have been able to exert relatively good control over the spread of the virus.
As we move forward it is likely that stringent controls will still be in place at aged care facilities for some time to come. However, the early signs are that the State government’s strategy of delaying re-opening until the vaccination levels were very high has achieved its goal of minimising the number of hospitalisations and deaths, not only in aged care but in the State more generally.
And for that, they need to be congratulated.