A man who was a resident of IRT Tarrawanna has passed away with COVID-19 overnight, it has been confirmed.
IRT CEO Patrick Reid today expressed condolences to the family and friends of the man, aged in his 90s.
Mr Reid said the resident was fully vaccinated and only had very mild symptoms prior to his sudden passing.
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"On behalf of everyone at IRT I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to all of the resident's family members and friends, including our Tarrawanna residents and staff, who are understandably shocked and saddened by his death," Mr Reid said.
"It is never easy to lose a loved one, and even harder under these circumstances."
So far 22 residents and four staff members at the centre have tested positive to COVID-19.
Mr Reid said on Saturday all other residents diagnosed with COVID-19 were stable, as are the three employees who are recovering at home.
"Symptoms of residents within the centre vary and fluctuate throughout the day. Some have sore throats, coughs and fevers, while some don't seem to have any symptoms at all," he said.
"We monitor them regularly, checking temperatures, blood pressure, and other vitals including oxygen saturation."
So far 15 residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are being cared for at the care centre and six have been transferred to Wollongong Hospital for closer monitoring due to existing health issues.
"At the direction of Commonwealth and State health authorities, we have also transferred 11 residents who do not have the virus, but whose rooms are located close to those who do, to Lawrence Hargrave Hospital," Mr Reid said.
Mr Reid explained that it is not yet known how the infection entered the aged care centre.
"We continue to work with the Public Health Unit to assist them with their contact tracing, however there are no obvious signs pointing to a source at this stage," he said.
"We understand how unsettling this situation is for residents, their families and our staff. We are very grateful for everyone who is working with us in doing all we can to protect each other."
"All residents and staff will be tested for COVID-19 again today and tomorrow - testing will continue until we are confident the outbreak is over."
An IRT spokesperson said they first became aware of the virus in the aged care centre when it arranged for a resident with symptoms to be tested for COVID-19.
They say results of that test were received late on October 6.
"Following the initial case, IRT swiftly implemented its outbreak management plan which included isolating all residents, furloughing relevant staff, regular testing of all residents and staff, increased use of personal protective equipment, increased cleaning and rapid antigen testing of everyone entering the centre," the spokesperson said.
"IRT continues to manage the centre in accordance with strict infection control protocols and in consultation with Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and other health authorities."