Crack team at SA Pathology to protect aged care residents

A dedicated SA Pathology team has been assembled to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak in aged care and other residential facilities to provide greater protection for some of South Australia’s most vulnerable citizens.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the team of domiciliary nurses and phlebotomists have the capacity to immediately test everyone in a facility if an outbreak occurs, helping to quickly identify cases, limit the spread and protect both vulnerable residents and staff.

“South Australia has led the nation with our COVID-19 response, but the fight is far from over and we must continue to plan for every scenario.

“A key to protecting our State from a resurgence of this disease is our success in dealing with cases as they are identified. The way to stop a case from becoming a cluster and a cluster becoming an outbreak is to identify and isolate cases and contacts quickly,” said Minister Wade.

“Older people are much more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and residents in aged care facilities are at particular risk as we see in both Australia and overseas.

“Speed is vital when it comes to diagnosis and contact tracing, so this rapid service has the potential to save lives.

“The highly-skilled teams are part of State Government’s strong plan to protect vulnerable South Australians from the spread of coronavirus.”

SA Pathology’s mobile service will be available to all metropolitan residential facilities and country facilities within reach of a regional pathology laboratory and patient centres.

Other residential facilities which could benefit from the service include disability accommodation, prisons, supported residential facilities, boarding houses and residential colleges.

The SA Pathology team will complement the work of Clinpath Pathology which is developing a dedicated pathology service for rapid sample collection and testing for COVID-19 at all Aged Care facilities.

SA Pathology’s Executive Director of Clinical Services, Dr Tom Dodd, said that the innovative approach to testing would help navigate the challenges linked to a coronavirus outbreak within an aged care facility.

“Testing within a facility can help us contain the outbreak and, importantly, it will limit the risk of exposure for the residents,” Dr Dodd said.

“SA Pathology has been pivotal in flattening the curve in South Australia, but a high level of testing will continue to be required if we are to keep a step ahead of the virus. The Residential Aged Care Facility service is just another innovative way for us to increase our testing capabilities.”

An expanded domiciliary service is also available for members of the public who are unable to attend a dedicated clinic or SA Pathology patient centre. Bookings can be made Monday to Friday via a GP.

For the latest information on coronavirus in South Australia, visit the SA Health website at or phone the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.

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