Rest-homes snap back into lockdown

Birchleigh Residential Care Centre resident Elma McRobbie (103) and chief executive Malcolm...
Birchleigh Residential Care Centre resident Elma McRobbie (103) and chief executive Malcolm Hendry are in lockdown in Mosgiel. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON

Rest-home residents are again getting used to contact with families happening through technology.

Ryman Healthcare spokesman David King said the care centres at both the Yvette Williams Retirement Village and Frances Hodgkins Retirement Village in Dunedin went into lockdown swiftly yesterday.

‘‘We've prepared for this and we're working to keep everyone comfortable and safe,’’ he said.

Residents had access to devices and they could keep in touch with people via Zoom.

Rest-homes in the South were quick to respond to the threat posed by community transmission of Covid-19.

Just as New Zealand Aged Care Association board member Malcolm Hendry had predicted less than a week ago, they prepared for immediate lockdowns when news came through on Tuesday night that a second wave of the virus might have started.

‘‘We were fully prepared for it. We just hoped it wouldn't happen,’’ Mr Hendry said.

The Government put Auckland into Alert Level 3 lockdown and the rest of New Zealand in Alert Level 2 from yesterday until Friday after it was unclear how four members of a family in Auckland had contracted the disease.

That meant it could have been spreading in the community in recent weeks.

Mr Hendry is also Mosgiel's Birchleigh Residential Care Centre and Chatsford Lifestyle Community chief executive.

‘‘We have to assume the potential for Covid to be in any part of the country,’’ he said.

‘‘It was impossible to hold out forever. The question now is how well we can control it from this point.’’

In Invercargill, Waikiwi Gardens Rest Home owner Denzil Travers said families would have electronic forms of contact, including Facetime and Skype.

Dunedin Radius Fulton Rest Home and Hospital Care manager Robyn Bowie said rest-homes adjusted quickly when tight restrictions came in during March and again had had to take fast action.

Letters would be sent to families of residents and information would be reviewed daily.


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