Age care facilities in lockdown over diarrhoea, vomiting

A GHASTLY bout of norovirus has swept through one of the Sunshine Coast's biggest aged-care establishments, forcing the elderly residents to stay in their rooms on Christmas Day.

Three of the aged-care facilities at Sundale Garden Village in Nambour have been in "lockdown" to curb the virus, affecting nearly 200 residents.

At least 30 people have contracted the virus, with symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting and intense nausea.

Sundale CEO Glenn Bunney said the condition had been going on "for about two weeks" and had affected three aged-care facilities.

Two have been re-opened and it was hoped the third and largest - the James Grimes facility - could re-open for Christmas Day.

Unfortunately, another resident was sick on Monday morning.

"From the last episode, you have to be clear for 72 hours," Mr Bunney said.

This meant the friends and families of the 117 James Grimes nursing home patients were advised they could not spend Christmas with their loved ones.

Mr Bunney said Queensland Health procedures required immediate "lockdown" to try to stop the spread.

"Our first priority is to look after the person," he said. "Then there is a complete washdown of the room to try to kill the bug.

"If we have two or three cases, we contact Public Health and are guided by their instructions.

"If we go into lockdown, the facility is no longer available for anyone to go into or leave to stop the spread."

Staff also do not go from room to room. Residents have to eat in their own rooms.

Mr Bunney said while it was unusual to have three fac

ilities closed, lockdown happened a "couple of times a year".

Sundale plans to reschedule the planned December 25 festivities to January.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said Sundale had all the correct procedures in place and it was hoped the quarantine could be lifted tomorrow.

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