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SDHB Daily Media Update - Wednesday 1 April 2020

Lakes District Hospital update

Lakes District Hospital is now admitting patients again, after a temporary pause while staff were tested for COVID-19.

Altogether 83 staff and contractors were tested for the virus, after two nurses were confirmed as having the infection.

Approximately 60 results have been processed, and part from the two confirmed cases, all have been negative. We are expecting the remaining results by midday tomorrow.

The nurses who have tested positive, their close contacts, and those whose results are still pending remain in self-isolation.

The staff were tested as we worked to understand how the first nurse contracted the illness, and to rule out the possibility of community transmission from within the workforce. This was a precautionary step due to the significance of such a possibility within a health care setting.

There are known to be a number of cases of COVID-19 in the Queenstown area, with the possibility of community transmission in the town.

The Hospital was extensively cleaned, and the wards have reopened for admission if necessary.

Two patients were discharged on Monday, and two were transferred to other hospitals yesterday while the wards were temporarily closed.

Chief Executive Chris Fleming acknowledged the significance of the events to the team at Lakes District Hospital and reiterated his support and concern for the two nurses involved.

“This has been incredibly stressful, especially within a small community and tight-knit health care team. While this is undoubtedly distressing at an individual level for those involved, no one is alone in this – rather it’s a reminder of the shared challenge we face, globally, as we fight an invisible, pervasive enemy. Certainly this brings this challenge close to home.

“I thank all our teams for their ongoing support of one another, and again I remind everyone in the community to take care of each other, be kind and ensure everyone affected receives the compassion they deserve and unfailingly show to those they care for.”

UPDATE: New cases

The Ministry of Health announced 10 new COVID-19 cases in the Southern region today. This brings the region’s total to 108 as of 8am this morning. Confirmed and probable cases are combined for this and future totals, to match Ministry case reporting.

Please note that Southern DHB Territorial Authority (TA) totals can change slightly from day to day. Cases are recorded in the TA where they are tested but might be reallocated to a new location if the patient resides somewhere else.


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