'There will be more deaths'
The operators of a Sydney aged care home at the centre of a serious coronavirus outbreak is bracing for more deaths.
Four elderly residents of Newmarch House in Caddens in the city's west died yesterday after contracting COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 11.
The facility, owned by Anglicare, is battling to control an outbreak of the virus, with almost 60 staff and residents testing positive.
"We were warned on the weekend to expect a number of very difficult days this week, with residents passing, so we do anticipate more deaths," Grant Millard, Anglicare Sydney chief executive officer, told ABC news.
Loved ones of those stuck inside the locked-down facility are furious.
Many are maintaining a vigil outside the property, unable to see their relatives in person, amid an increasingly horrific situation.
Anthony Bowe's mother is a Newmarch House resident and slammed Anglicare's handling of the crisis.
Mr Bowe told Channel 9 that he had had "no contact" with operators and holds serious fears about that the quality of care being offered to his mum.
"There's been no opportunity for us to plan throughout the stages," Mr Bowe said.
"At the moment it's pretty much, wait until they've got an hour to live and then we'll give you a call. The lack of urgency has just been breathtaking."
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government is working closely with state health authorities.
"This has been, as we have always warned, an example that aged care facilities and the frail aged are our most vulnerable Australians," Mr Hunt said.
"In all of our expectations, we had feared that because of the silent nature of the virus it could creep through into numerous aged care homes.
"As it is, we've had two significant outbreaks, which is so far below our best-case expectation that I say a prayer of thanks virtually every day. But each one of these is, nevertheless, an agonising outbreak, and for the families involved."
The outbreak at Newmarch House began when a sick employee worked for six days while unknowingly infected with coronavirus.
The majority of current cases relate to elderly residents.
Anglicare has defended its response, with Mr Mallard insisting loved ones are being regularly updated.
"Since the outbreak on Easter Sunday, we have made sure to send daily emails to families of our residents at Newmarch House. "And for every one of our residents who are sadly COVID-19 positive, we are in regular phone contact, at least once a day, with that resident's designated representative - the person responsible."