‘Preparedness’ helped avert aged care Covid deaths

A huge amount of work meant the southern region had "dodged a bullet" and avoided cases of Covid-19 in an aged care facility, a Southern District Health Board committee meeting was told yesterday.

The South had one of the highest number of cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, including three significant clusters, but did not experience fatal outbreaks of the disease in aged care, as happened in Auckland and Christchurch.

The board’s community and public health and disability committee meeting yesterday considered a report on aged care preparedness, which found several of the 65 facilities in the region had been under-prepared for Covid-19 and had had to take urgent steps to improve plans.

"There but for the grace of God we dodged that bullet," SDHB strategy, primary and community executive director Lisa Gestro said.

"That was because of a huge amount of work done in the aged residential care sector in terms of preparedness for any outbreak."

The report’s recommendations had been through a clinical review process and were being put into action, Ms Gestro said.

It had highlighted issues with supply of personal protective equipment which were being addressed, she said.

"PPE was a well-canvassed issue across the board ... the Ministry [of Health] devolved responsibility for supplying aged care providers to local DHBs, so we did have quite a good handle on saying with certainty that there was a level of preparedness, although I don’t pretend for a minute that it was perfect.

"There was a process that was local and we felt that we did our job."

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter