Retirement village staff member tests positive

A staff member at Aspiring Lifestyle Retirement Village has tested positive for coronavirus after their spouse tested positive a day earlier. Retirement village director Aaron Armstrong said the staff member received a positive test result on the afternoon of Friday, March 27.

They had left the village midday on March 25 in preparation for the nationwide lockdown and had not returned.

Staff were advised of the positive test on Friday, and any who might have been in close contact with the positive staff member were sent home that day to isolate themselves and were not returning to the village.

Residents were advised on Saturday. Only one resident was considered to be a close contact, and they were isolated like everyone else in the village, Armstrong said.

Family and support people were now the only visitors allowed into the Aspiring Lifestyle Retirement Village.

"The only people entering the village are family and support people dropping off supplies at the front gate, which is operated by security and caregivers considered essential workers by the government," Armstrong said.

"We are in close communication with the medical officer of health and are following all of their guidelines and recommendations and any resident

or staff members that develop respiratory symptoms will be tested," he said.

There were 13 staff and 177 residents in the village.

Southern District Health Board (SDHB) was testing 38 staff and undertaking extensive cleaning of Lakes District Hospital, Queenstown, following notification that two nurses had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

The public health team was investigating to find out how the nurses contracted the virus. 

"We are aware of a number of cases in the Queenstown area that are likely, due to community transmission. And we are exploring all possible ways of exposure for this nurse," SDHB said.

While there had been two coronavirus patients cared for at Lakes District Hospital, the nurses did not provide care directly to either of these patients.

There were 31 cases of coronavirus in the Queenstown Lakes district yesterday .

Health authorities were still trying to locate 257 attendees of the  Boehringer Ingelheim World Hereford Conference in Queenstown earlier this month after 24 attendees tested positive with coronavirus, five within the last 24 hours.

A statement from the Ministry of Health, and Southern and Canterbury District Health Boards on Monday said they had identified 840 close contacts from the conference and had tracked 583.

The 400 conference delegates from 20 countries travelled widely in New Zealand. Before the four-day conference, some went on a five-day North

Island tour which took in Auckland, Rotorua, Napier, Masterton and Wellington, with visits to seven farms specialising in hereford cattle.

The tour finished in Wellington on March 8. Then, after the conference, on March 14, some delegates left Queenstown on a five-day tour to Te Anau, Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch. During the tour, they visited eight farms in Southland, Otago and Canterbury. The tour ended on March 18.

Some delegates also attended the Wānaka A & P Show held on March 13 and 14.

 In the Southern Health District, the total number of people who had tested positive with coronavirus had risen to 98 by yesterday That included 97 confirmed cases and one probable case. One Southern case was in Dunedin Hospital in a designated coronavirus ward.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to escalate across Otago and Southland.

On Monday it was confirmed there were 14 new cases in the Southern District Health board's catchment area - which covered the centres of Dunedin, Invercargill and the Queenstown Lakes.

The southern region has a population of 329,000.

Authorities said most cases in the region were directly linked to international travel, the World Hereford Conference and the Wānaka A&P Show.

The largest number of cases in the region was in Dunedin with 30. There were eight confirmed cases in Invercargill.

Queenstown Lakes District mayor Jim Boult said the 31 cases of coronavirus in his district was "heart-breaking."

While the majority of cases could still be connected to overseas travel, there was continued concern over the risk of community transmission and cases unrelated to travel, he said.

Southern District Health Board chief executive officer Chris Fleming said he was "concerned with the relatively high numbers.

"But to date, the numbers requiring access to hospital have been relatively small, which is positive."

Dunedin Hospital's Intensive Care Unit could be expanded if more coronavirus cases required treatment at Dunedin Hospital.

Boult reiterated the need for everyone to STAY HOME.


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