A full lockdown of the aged care home Aldersgate Village at Newnham is necessary to prevent the entry of coronavirus experienced doctor Andrew Jackson says.
His call came as Respect Aged Care moved to lockdown its 11 residential aged care homes in Tasmania, including Tyler Village in Launceston, and Victoria.
Coronavirus: The latest COVID-19 updates for Northern Tasmania
Dr Andrew Jackson said the lockdown would stop visitors to the facility and would require staff and commercial visitors to be checked for the virus before entry.
"This nursing home needs to go into a full lockdown and it may be necessary to go further with residents isolated in their rooms later on," he said.
"Nursing homes are a time bomb for coronavirus with elderly and infirm with chronic medical conditions who are the most vulnerable people in society.
"Once the virus invades a nursing home there is no turning back.
"It has got to be done now."
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Dr Jackson, the principal practice manager at the Northern Suburbs Medical Service at Mowbray has worked with Aldersgate for 16 years.
He said that without a vaccine and no effective anti-viral medications for coronavirus the case for a lockdown was more urgent than for the 2017 influenza outbreak which claimed six lives in Tasmanian nursing homes.
Dr Jackson cited the case of a nursing home in Washington state which lost 25 residents and had one quarter of its staff infected as an illustrative example of what could happen.
He said that he had made his recommendation direct to Uniting Age Well.
A spokesperson for Uniting Age Well said the organisation was "carefully monitoring and managing the escalated risks that Covid 19 presents to our communities".
The spokesperson said there would be a further update in 24 hours.
Respect Aged Care managing director Jason Binder said the lockdown would mean no access from family and friends unless there were exceptional circumstances.
"The Coronavirus puts elderly people at high risk, particularly those with certain pre-existing
conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer," he said.
Mr Binder said the statistics to date further highlighted the high level of risk to Respect's residents,
"To date there have been five deaths in Australia, and they have all been individuals over 75, three of whom were residents of an aged care facility," he said.
Southern Cross Care manager Richard Tyberek said last week that it was a matter of when not if coronavirus entered aged care homes.
Dr Jackson said the chronic bed block at the Launceston General Hospital meant that nursing homes could not expect that nursing home residents would receive intensive care at the LGH.
He said testing of staff and commercial visitors to an aged care home would look for anyone with a temperature above 37.5 or with a dry cough.
The Examiner approached Health Minister Sarah Courtney for comment.