Lockdowns protect aged

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Safety first . . . Ross Home manager Margaret Pearce offers hand sanitiser to a visitor yesterday afternoon, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

As the city braces for possible further cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, Dunedin’s social agencies and rest-homes are rallying to support the elderly and vulnerable in our community. The Star reporters talk to those at the coalface.

Some rest-homes went into lockdown to protect vulnerable residents against Covid-19 in Dunedin yesterday.

Woodhaugh Rest Home & Hospital facility manager Yaroslav Divnov said a decision was made to to lockdown the facility in North Dunedin yesterday morning.

The move was in response to the novel coronavirus being detected in Dunedin, Mr Divnov said.

The lockdown would be in place until further notice.

“This virus seems to be affecting the elderly folk the most of the symptoms something we have to do,” Mr Divnov said.

Feedback on the lockdown from the families of some the about 40 residents at the facility had been positive, he said.

Montecillo Veterans Home & Hospital in St Kilda confirmed it was in lockdown yesterday but declined to comment further.

Marne Street Hospital manager Barbara Boylen said the front door of the Andersons Bay facility was locked, but it was not in lockdown.

“We have restricted visitors at this stage.”

Families of the 55 residents needed to make an appointment if they wanted to visit, she said.

“It’s vitally important for the health and safety of the residents and the staff.”

Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Jo Rowe said, as of 10.30am yesterday, none of its care homes in Dunedin Ross Home, St Andrews or Taieri Court in lockdown.

“Although they are now operating on a restricted access basis asked to consider carefully the need to enter,” Ms Rowe said.

“We have asked that visitors only visit if there are special circumstances.”

Anyone entering the homes would need to be well or have completed the 14-day self-isolation if required, she said.

“This is to reduce the risk to our residents and staff. Our residents are especially vulnerable due to their average age, which is over 80.”

Ryman Healthcare spokesman David King said neither Yvette Williams Retirement Village nor Frances Hodgkins Retirement Village in Dunedin were in lockdown as of noon yesterday, but visiting had been restricted.

“We are asking people to only visit if it is absolutely essential.”

A Summerset Group Holdings spokeswoman said the Summerset Care Centre in Dunedin was closed to all visitors from 9am yesterday.

“However, we are discussing individual circumstances with families on request.

“This is a preventative measure to protect our most vulnerable residents in the care centre during this uncertain time and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.