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Central Otago Health Services chief executive Dr Kathryn de Luc said on Saturday Dunstan Hospital had tested a small number of patients, most of whom had been negative. One positive Covid-19 patient had been admitted to Dunstan Hospital for a short period before being transferred, she said.
"Apart from providing the primary care after-hours service for the Alexandra and Cromwell areas Dunstan Hospital is only dealing with positive Covid-19 patients if they deteriorate sufficiently to need to be cared for in hospital."
Dr de Luc said the public health department at the Southern District Health Board would know the total number of patients tested and the number positive from these communities.
"The majority of these patients will be well enough to stay at home and will not need to be admitted to Dunstan Hospital.
"Public Health then regularly check in with the patients and if a patient’s condition deteriorates to a level that they require admission to Dunstan Hospital, they will liaise with us and primary care and we will admit the patient."
It was also the case a patient might be transferred direct from the community to the Dunedin hospital, she said.
"This would be in liaison between primary care, public health, St John and the base hospital. In these instances Dunstan Hospital would not be involved in the care of these patients."
Dunstan Hospital senior clinician and associate professor of rural health said Dunstan Hospital doctors, Dunedin Hospital specialists and St John were used to working closely together to safely transfer patients who required the services of the base hospital in Dunedin.
"In this instance on Friday, there was good communication between the clinicians in primary care, Dunstan Hospital and Dunedin Hospital and the patient was appropriately managed and when the decision was made to do so, safely transferred."
Dr de Luc reminded people could help Dunstan Hospital to help them by adhering to Level 4 measures and keeping within their "bubble".