At the heart of Victoria's coronavirus crisis, a growing number of deaths and positive cases are linked to aged care settings.
In regional Victoria, it is a different tale, for now.
Aged care providers in Stawell including Eventide Homes and Stawell Regional Health are doing everything within their capabilities to stop the deadly disease entering the facilities.
Eventide Homes chief executive Sue Blakey said in her 20 years of employment at the retirement home the threat of COVID-19 infecting the residents was the biggest challenge she had faced.
"We are all living through a very intense time in our lives and looking after our home and families as best we can," she said.
"Working in aged care and looking after a family of 100 residents all living in the same home and 135 staff's wellbeing is incredibly challenging.
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"I am grateful to have the support of our board directors who are always proactive, setting a very generous specific budget for COVID and understanding that more funds may be required."
Mrs Blakey said the residents' wellbeing was the number one priority.
"We are doing everything in our power to keep COVID out of Eventide," she said.
"I know that residents are sick of the isolation and I understand that family members are frustrated and disappointed they cannot visit their loved ones at this time.
"Our staff are a major concern, their wellbeing is paramount to keeping the wheels here turning and our residents being looked after. They are the key as to whether the management of an outbreak is successful or not."
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Mrs Blakey said she understood staff were becoming fatigued and sacrificing important events in their lives to help keep the residents safe.
"I would like to thank all staff for their hard work and dedication, it has not gone unnoticed," she said.
"Each week we attend a ZOOM meeting arranged by Leading Aged Services Australia, our peak body and many facilities which have a current outbreak are present at this meeting. We listen to their advice on what did not go quite right, and we have updated our Pandemic Management Plan and implemented many improvements from their learnings."
At the onset back in March, Eventide Homes staff were trained in correct procedures of PPE.
"Last week we undertook an audit and found some gaps," Mrs Blakey said.
"A small number of staff needed to be prompted with the correct sequence of putting on and taking off PPE.
"This week we are undertaking a comprehensive training session to ensure all staff have the process down pat.
"I also want to reassure you all, that we have four weeks of PPE in stock."
Mrs Blakey said during the pandemic communication had become critical and continuing the communication would become more important in an event of an outbreak.
"We currently use an SMS Broadcast system to send text to all designated family members," she said.
"We also use this system for our staff. This enables immediate communication in the event that we need to pass on information quickly. If we have a positive case, we know the media will be on our doorstep within minutes, we only hope that we get messages to residents and their families before the story is announced via the media."
Renovations were completed inside the facility in readiness for a positive case.
"Kingston Lodge is now an eight bed isolation ward, complete with kitchen, lounge, bathroom, and laundry facilities as well as a staff room and staff accommodation," Mrs Blakey said.
"We held a "mock" drill last week to test our Pandemic Plan which highlighted a couple of tweaks required.
"At this stage it is not known whether hospital beds will be available. I want to assure you that we will be advocating for all residents to be transferred to hospital to receive acute care if required."
Eventide Homes is in a stage of "lock down" with visits for end of life and compassionate reasons considered on a case by case basis.
"Please be assured we are doing everything in our power to keep COVID out of Eventide, but I also must say there is no guarantee we will be able to succeed," Mrs Blakey said.
"I also wish to assure you that we have extensive plans and flow charts in place to manage an outbreak.
"I wish to thank our residents families and the entire community for their support during this tough time. Your messages of encouragement and support are truly appreciated."
Stawell Regional Health has implemented strict staff screenings and temperature checks to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak at Macpherson Smith Residential Care.
Director of clinical and residential care services Trudi Dunmore said all staff and visitors are required to wear face masks.
"We have another facility in Stawell - with staff going between the sites it is important we are taking precautions," she said.
"Staff change into their work clothes at work, so they are not contaminating their clothes and then going home."
Mrs Dunmore said staff have been talking to residents every day about the surge in coronavirus infections throughout Victoria's aged care sector.
"They have seen the news which has caused a lot of fear and anxiety," Mrs Dunmore said.
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"But they are in high spirits and we have extra staff on the ground to make sure they are okay.
"We have a 'love' window where the residents can sit and talk to their loved ones through the window.
Mrs Dunmore said visitors are only allowed to visit for an hour, three times a week, and families have been supportive of the precautions.
"We have communicated with aged care facilities in Ballarat and Melbourne who have experienced outbreaks," she said.
"We have learned from their mistakes ... we are ready if we have any positive cases of COVID-19."
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