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Aged Residential Care Facilities following usual infectious disease protocols

Wednesday 12 August 2020Media release2 minutes to read

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Covid-19

Aged Residential Care Facilities following usual infectious disease protocols

Please attribute to Dr Cheryl Brunton, Medical Officer of Health, Canterbury DHB:

Canterbury DHB has received numerous media queries regarding a number of Christchurch rest-homes which are described as being in lockdown or partial lockdown.

When an Aged Residential Care facility has a resident or a group of residents who are unwell restricting visitors and isolating the resident/s is the most appropriate course of action. This is not new – taking a precautionary approach and keeping residents separate from each other and asking visitors to stay away is one of the most important actions ARC facilities can take to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. This protects other residents and staff.

Isolation is the correct protocol for any infectious disease including norovirus (a vomiting and diarrhoea illness), influenza or other respiratory infections – including COVID-19, along with increasing the level of PPE used by staff, stringent attention to hand hygiene, and scrupulous cleaning of high touch point areas (such as door handles, keyboards, phones etc).

These rest homes are to be commended for proactively taking steps to protect their residents and staff.  Many residents have been swabbed and to date all test results have returned negative for COVID-19. At this time of year there are many different flu-like respiratory illnesses circulating and we expect this will continue into early spring as it does most years.

We have good systems in place to support our response to outbreaks of any infectious diseases. Canterbury DHB’s Infection, Prevention and Control team along with Community & Public Health work collaboratively with Aged Residential Care providers to provide specialist advice when required.

In line with the Ministry of Health’s latest advice in response to community cases of COVID-19 in Auckland, all rest homes should now be restricting visiting under Alert Level 2.

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Page last updated: 25 September 2020

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