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Lakes District Hospital Staff To Be Tested As A Precaution Following Positive COVID-19 Test

Southern DHB is testing 36 staff and undertaking extensive cleaning of Lakes District Hospital, following notification that a nurse has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Public Health team is investigating to find out how the nurse contracted the virus. We are aware of a number of cases in the Queenstown likely due to community transmission and are exploring all possible ways of exposure for this nurse.

While there have been two COVID-19 patients cared for at Lakes District Hospital, the nurse did not provide care directly to either of these patients.

Lakes District Hospital is a small facility and the nurse was in contact with a number of staff members in the days prior to the onset of symptoms, when she could have been infectious. She was not in contact with any patients during this time.

All of the staff she has had close contact with are self-isolating for 14 days with immediate effect.

As a precaution, we are also testing staff and undertaking an extensive clean of the hospital facility.

Our thoughts are with our staff member who has received this news today. We thank everyone for their support at this time, and ask that the privacy of the nurse involved, and that of all staff, is respected as we take the steps we need to manage this situation.

Emergency department, maternity services remain open

During the period of testing and cleaning, Lakes District Hospital will continue to operate its emergency department. Any patient who requires admission will be transferred to another facility.

Primary maternity services remain open. As part of our COVID preparation, Southern DHB has relocated the primary birthing unit to a separate building on the Lakes District hospital site; this is now open.

UPDATE: 82 cases confirmed, plus one probable in Southern district

The total number of Southern cases is now 83. This includes 82 confirmed cases and 1 probable case. One Southern case is in Dunedin Hospital in a designated COVID-19 ward.

SDHB is now providing the location of each case down to Territorial Authority (TA level). More specific locations will not be disclosed while case numbers are low in a TA area. This is to protect patient confidentiality.

The numbers by Territorial Authority are as follows:

Queenstown Lakes 31

Dunedin 30 plus, 1 probable

Invercargill 9

Central Otago 5

Clutha 3

Southland 2

Gore District 1

Other/undefined 1

While there can be a lag between confirmation of cases and public notification of those cases, this lag does not create any public health risk.

Anyone who is tested for COVID-19 goes into immediate self-isolation while awaiting results and further advice. Contact tracing starts for people who test positive as soon as test results are received. Close contacts of the positive case are identified and informed and isolated immediately.

UPDATE: COVID-19 Patient Management

As per our emergency planning response, every individual who comes through a hospital entrance is screened appropriately. This includes being asked a series of questions for COVID-19 and a recording of their details. If visitors are unwell, they are not able to visit.

To ensure the health and safety of our current patients and hospital staff, Southern DHB is not allowing visitors to Dunedin, Southland and Lakes District Hospitals except on compassionate grounds.

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 and require hospitilisation will be managed appropriately as per our organisational planning.

As always, we are following the national guidelines and encouraging anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 to contact their regular doctor or call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

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