Rest-homes snap into lockdown

Dunedin rest-homes are back in lockdown.

At noon yesterday, most of New Zealand moved back into Covid-19 Alert Level 2, with the exception of Auckland which moved to Alert Level 3.

This was after the discovery on Tuesday of four positive cases of Covid-19 outside of managed isolation in Auckland.

This applies until midnight tomorrow, when it will be reassessed.

Taking greater precautions, rest-homes nationwide went into full lockdown from noon yesterday, effectively operating under Level 4 style restrictions.

Birchleigh Residential Care Centre and Chatsford Lifestyle Community chief executive Malcolm Hendry said residents and their families had been understanding.

"I told families about two weeks ago that any indication of community transmission anywhere in New Zealand would result in us going immediately into lockdown," Mr Hendry said.

"We’ve kept them informed so there’s no surprises.

"Most of the families are appreciative that we are taking these precautions."

Glendale Retirement Home manager Sue Brown said they had spoken to the residents’ families and the majority expected the homes would go into lockdown.

"It’s almost like it was inevitable and everyone’s really accepting of it which is really, really great," she said.

"We’re all just hoping it’s going to be for three days."

Leslie Groves Hospital facility manager Sean Kelly said the news of rest-homes entering lockdown yesterday was a surprise following Tuesday night’s announcement Dunedin would enter Alert Level 2.

However, the facility’s staff, residents and their families had been "incredibly supportive" and understood the reasons for the lockdown.

"We’ve seen what is happening overseas and we certainly don’t want that to happen over here."

Woodhaugh Resthome and Hospital managing director Yaroslav Divnov said he believed the lockdown was "a necessary safety measure under the circumstances".

"I think it is too early to assess the impact of the new lockdown on everyone involved.

"Our experience earlier this year showed that the longer the lockdown lasts, the more restless and tired everyone gets."

Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Jo Rowe said its Enliven rest-homes — Ross Home, St Andrew’s and Taieri Court — would remain in lockdown until the end of the weekend, then review the situation.

"We expect that our residents and their families will understand that we want to keep them safe," she said.

The rest of the city remains at Alert Level 2, which means people could leave home, but should follow public health measures and distance themselves from others — 2m in public and in retail stores, and 1m in most other environments such as workplaces or cafes or restaurants.

At Alert Level 2 the risk of Covid-19 being present in the community was higher.

The Government advised people to wear a mask in situations where physical distancing was not possible, such as on public transport or in shops.

Public gatherings have been limited to 100 people.


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