Ted O'Brien on his COVID Safe road trip earlier this year, visiting nine sites across the electorate. Picture: Patrick Woods
Ted O'Brien on his COVID Safe road trip earlier this year, visiting nine sites across the electorate. Picture: Patrick Woods

Elderly residents volunteered for COVID checkpoint

Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien has questioned the common sense of senior citizens and an aged care provider after residents volunteered at a COVID-19 checkpoint.

"We love you; we care for you and we don't want you to be put in harm's way," Mr O'Brien said on Thursday as he revealed residents at the Immanuel Gardens retirement village volunteered at the COVID-19 checkpoint at the facility's entrance.

Mr O'Brien said he was "very" surprised upon hearing of the situation.

"You don't need a law or regulation to tell you that that is not appropriate - common sense says that's not appropriate," he said.

"The advice has been clear from medical experts from the get-go that certain members of our community are more vulnerable than others and that includes senior citizens.

"I understand how so many of our senior citizens do want to volunteer, we are such a volunteering area, but there's good reason why we say to our own senior citizens please don't do such activities."

Care home COVID results negative as more tested

His comments came after the Buderim venue went into lockdown on Monday when four residents of the facility began experiencing respiratory symptoms.

But COVID-19 test results have since returned negative for all four.

"These are not easy times and I am very conscious of the anxiety that may be felt by residents and loved ones over recent days," Mr O'Brien said.

"But it is important that if people show symptoms of COVID-19, in this case respiratory issues, that they are tested, and we need to make sure we are mitigating risks as much as we can."

It is still unknown what ages the volunteers were and for how long they manned the checkpoint.

Immanuel Gardens' operator Lutheran Services acknowledged in a statement by CEO Nick Ryan on Thursday that it was inappropriate for senior citizens to be playing that role.

It is also understood that those practices took place with a former management team.

Mr Ryan said no elderly residents were currently involved at the checkpoint for either the retirement village or aged care community on Magnetic Drive.

He said an investigation into volunteer protocols has been undertaken.

"This is not an appropriate role for people living in our retirement village," the statement said.

He said only trained and experienced workers were employed to oversee site visitation procedures.

That includes compulsory temperature checks, with all visitors requiring proof of flu vaccinations before entering.

Mr O'Brien said the matter has been referred to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner.

"It will be ultimately up to the commissioner … to decide whether any action will be taken," he said.



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