Illness strikes Tauranga retirement village

A Tauranga retirement village has been closed to visitors after a suspected norovirus outbreak.

Bethlehem Views, a 68-room rest home and hospital, is closed to visitors and contractors while it deals with the suspected outbreak.

A management spokesman said Public Health had advised the village to not allow visitors or contractors on the property.

"We are taking all measures possible to prevent the spread of infection and maintain the health and well-being of our residents," he said.

"All residents are being isolated in the hope this will be brought to a swift conclusion. We understand this is inconvenient for residents, families and friends and we appreciate their co-operation and patience to manage this situation."

Bay of Plenty medical officer of health Neil de Wet said the outbreak was most likely norovirus but test results had yet to come back. The virus typically lasts in individuals for two to three days.

As well as isolation and restricting visitor movements, the rest home had instituted a range of cleaning and disinfectant measurements including strict hand hygiene and staff to stay home if they become infected.

It was standard protocol for a retirement home to close its doors on visitors in a situation like this, he said.

However, a Rotorua woman is furious she cannot see her elderly mother because of the "lock down".

The concerned daughter, who did not want to be identified, said she was last able to visit her mother at the retirement home a week ago on Saturday.

"My sister went to visit her over the weekend when she was turned away at the door," she said. Her mother, who has had dementia for 12 years, was no longer able to speak.

"My mother could die any day and we would have no idea."

The daughter said she would even sign an agreement with the home to be able to see her mother.

She was told she would be able to visit her mother 96 hours after the last patient was sick with the effects of the virus, she said.

"That could be a month away, those things go around and around."

Her mother, who has not been unwell, has her own bedroom and ensuite within the village, she said.

By Ruth Keber of the Bay of Plenty Times


Symptoms may include vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, fever, headaches, muscle/joints aches and pains, nausea and lack of energy.

Symptoms usually occur within 48 hours of exposure to an infected person, food or environment.

No specific treatment is available but symptoms can be relieved by drinking plenty of fluids and taking paracetamol.


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