20 of 26 infected at Dunedin dementia rest home

Hywel Lloyd. Photo: supplied
Hywel Lloyd. Photo: supplied

Covid-19 has managed to work its infectious way into one Dunedin dementia aged care facility, placing 26 vulnerable people and those who care for them at risk.

The Southern District Health Board yesterday confirmed there had been an outbreak at a facility, which the Otago Daily Times understands is Bradford Manor, a 26-bed secure dementia rest-home.

As of last night, 20 of the rest-home’s 26 residents had been confirmed to have contracted Covid-19.

"Most have symptoms that are not severe, with most residents remaining relatively well despite having the virus," SDHB health of older people portfolio manager Sharon Adler said.

"All staff and residents at the facility have been double-vaccinated and boosted."

Neither Bradford Manor staff nor ownership would speak when contacted yesterday.

Ms Adler said given that Covid-19 had been circulating in the region for several weeks, it was unsurprising it had been detected in an aged care facility.

"Facility management have communicated directly with families and with staff regarding this outbreak and are being supported by SDHB staff," she said.

"We are confident that all possible measures are being taken to protect residents’ health, and that of staff in these facilities."

SDHB acting quality and clinical governance solutions director Dr Hywel Lloyd said a range of clinical teams had been consulted over the best way of handling the outbreak, and that the board had also drawn upon what happened in Christchurch when the Redwood rest-home experienced an outbreak.

A home care support services worker had also tested positive, Dr Lloyd said.

The rest-home residents were among 582 cases reported by the SDHB yesterday, a figure which brought the total of active cases in Otago and Southland to 5550.

A demographic breakdown of southern cases shows young people are bearing the brunt of the outbreak: 46% of all cases are among women aged between 10-29, and 32% of cases are among men of the same age.

The disease is no respecter of age: 118 southern children aged 0-9 have Covid-19, as do 161 people aged 69 or older, including two women aged 90-plus.

Dr Lloyd said daily case numbers had been holding steady, but that public health officials believed they were being under-reported.

"Predominantly it is in Dunedin and among young people, who are incredibly socially active," he said.

Supply chain issues securing rapid antigen tests for the region had now been resolved and they were now widely available, Dr Lloyd said.

"Our testing centres remain busy and steady with good attendance," the SDHB acting quality and clinical governance solutions director said.

Nationally, 22,152 new cases of Covid-19 were reported yesterday, and 405 people were in hospital.

One person in Southland Hospital has tested positive with Covid.

Dr Lloyd said that they were not in hospital for Covid and were being appropriately managed.

He also said the board had changed its previous plan for all Covid patients who required hospitalisation to be transferred to Dunedin Hospital.

"Omicron is slightly different. It doesn’t cause so much morbidity, and the vast majority of people who are admitted will require oxygen, so we have adjusted our plan and adapted Southland and our rural facilities to be able to accept cases."

University of Otago chief operating officer Stephen Willis yesterday confirmed that more than 1000 of the 3500 students in its residential colleges had Covid-19.

"Many will complete their isolation period in coming days."

Those students had their meals delivered, could exercise safely and welfare support was available, Mr Willis said.

Classes were also available online.

"The welfare of our students is a key priority and we are working closely with any students who are Covid-19 positive, ensuring they are linked in to the healthcare and welfare provision we are offering.

"We are providing daily welfare checks for any students who test positive for Covid-19."

With so many students and college staff affected, the university had asked for volunteers to help care for them, and more than 300 staff members had done so, Mr Willis said. — Additional reporting Eric Trump




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