At least 10 elderly people across the region have died as a COVID-19 outbreak takes hold of several nursing homes.
Five people have died at Armidale's Ken Thompson Lodge, three lost their battle with coronavirus in Eloura in Quirindi, and deaths have also been recorded in Moree and Glen Innes.
ACM has confirmed more than 120 elderly residents across New England are isolating in nursing homes and almost 70 staff have returned positive results.
According to the latest COVID outbreak report from the federal health and aged care department, the Armidale facility had 47 cases in residents, 31 in staff, and five residents have passed away.
At Whiddon Moree across their nursing home and village there have been 32 cases in residents, one death and 13 staff test positive.
The Uniting McKay House in Tamworth has seen four staff test positive and 17 residents.
In Glen Innes, Roseneath Aged Care reported seven positive cases both in residents and staff, and one death.
Bupa in Armidale has seen one resident test positive and ACM has confirmed another 10 at its Tamworth facility.
Chair of Quirindi Aged Care Services - which operates Eloura - Mike Lomax said this is the worst wave of COVID-19 they've experienced.
"We had 61 residents in there on Saturday ... we're now back to 58 because we've lost three of those to COVID," he said.
"That will be a total of four since COVID started ... but [those] four we've lost have been this year."
Some centres have been left reeling as they search for staff to keep residents safe while surge staff are in high demand.
"We locked the facility down on Saturday when we got the first positive," Mr Lomax said.
"That developed fairly rapidly to a total of 24 positive cases of residents in the facility."
There are now 13 staff away due to the positive results.
Mr Lomax said it's unlikely they'll be able to find replacement staff as COVID has caused staff shortages in aged care all across the region.
"Almost 20 per cent of our staff are off at the moment, so we're really not in a great place," he said.
"We would normally have access to what we call surge staff ... but they're not available anymore.
"Everybody's gone through them and just exhausted that resource."
One of the few to pass through the wave relatively unscathed is the Sisters of Nazareth Nursing Home in Tamworth, which still has a full complement of 150 staff.
CEO of Sisters of Nazareth David Cotter said while vaccination rates are high, there is also a high transmission rate of coronavirus which is bringing more aged-care residents in contact with it.
"It's the broader infection rate in the broader community that's having the biggest impact because staffing becomes very tight," he said.
"Fortunately, Nazareth Care has great staff and our roster has not been compromised ... we're always looking for more people but we're fortunate we're not desperate at the moment."
Across the country, 1013 homes have recorded outbreaks, with 6118 cases in residents and 3419 cases in staff.
The numbers are current to July 22, the federal Department of Health and Aged Care reported.
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