Aged care taking cautious approach

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Locked down . . . Presbyterian Support South Canterbury CEO Carolyn Cooper has kept the organisation's aged residential care facilities in Alert Level 4. PHOTO: GEORGE CLARK

by George Clark

At least three South Canterbury aged-care facilities are effectively remaining in Alert Level 4 lockdown until at least tomorrow (Friday).

While the rest of the community is operating under Level 2 restrictions, and aged-care facilities are now allowed to operate at that level, Presbyterian Support South Canterbury said it was not planning to move its three aged-care residential facilities out of Level 4 at this stage.

It was announced last week that all New Zealand rest-homes would move to Alert Level 4 at noon on August 12 for a period of three days, requiring strict lockdowns and barring family visitors.

Presbyterian Support South Canterbury chief executive Carolyn Cooper said the organisation’s Wallingford, Margaret Wilson and The Croft aged-care accommodation would remain in Level 4 at least until further information was received from the Ministry of Health tomorrow.

“While Level 4 was of potential concern to everybody, rest-homes were prepared and knew what to expect,” she said.

“We did not have the same initial urgency as the first time around and reused a lot of our information and procedures. It was about acting quickly, even if we had not told families, locking down for visiting straight away.”

Presbyterian Support’s residential care facilities locked down last Wednesday morning instead of noon and will remain in Level 4 at least until the end of this week.

“The way the staff and residents are handling this has been great. It is a tricky time for everybody. We just deal with things as they arise.”

The Courier asked Highfield Lifecare, Glenwood Home and Strathallan Life Care Village Rest Home and Hospital if they too were remaining in Level 4 lockdown, but none would comment.

Easier this time . . .
South Canterbury Primary School Principals Association chair and Gleniti school principal Steve Zonnevylle said schools were back to washing hands frequently, signing in and out at sanitation stations and no assemblies. PHOTO: GEORGE CLARK

South Canterbury Primary School Principals Association chairman and Gleniti School principal Steve Zonnevylle said schools were back to setting up signing in and out at sanitation stations, not holding assemblies and encouraging pupils to wash hands frequently.

“We have had to take steps to accommodate for Level 2 but it is safe to say this time it was much easier to go into it,” he said.

“All local schools have found it easier. We are giving it our all to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

As of Tuesday, there were no confirmed active Covid-19 cases in South Canterbury.

Main Alert Level 2 reminders

Covid-19 Alert Level 2 is not life as normal. You can still go to work and school, but you must:

  • keep your distance from other people in public
  • wash your hands
  • sneeze and cough into your elbow
  • keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen
  • wear a face covering if you can.
  • People at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19 are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.
  • No more than 100 people at gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.
  • The Auckland region was placed in Alert Level 3, which requires people to stay home in their “bubble”, work from home where possible, and observe physical distancing outside home.
  • The current levels are to remain in place until 11.59pm on Wednesday, August 26.