A staff member at a West Auckland rest home where at least three elderly residents died during last year’s virus outbreak has returned a positive test.

CHT St Margaret’s Hospital and Rest Home in Te Atatu is today testing all residents in its dementia unit after a worker was confirmed as a positive case last night.

Chief executive Carrian Hall confirmed the employee, who had recently received their first dose of the vaccine, was a household contact of a confirmed case.

Staff members who had been working closely with the positive staff member had also gone into self-isolation and would be tested, said Hall.

A public health mobile Covid testing unit was currently on site.

At least three elderly residents died during the March 2020 outbreak when 51 people contracted the virus in the St Margaret’s cluster, including Waitakere Hospital nurses who treated sick elderly patients transferred into their care.

Hall said the Auckland Public Health Service confirmed late last night that a staff member had contracted the virus.

The staff member was already in precautionary self-isolation before taking a Covid test.

“We are grateful that this staff member immediately isolated, got tested and communicated to us so that we can swiftly manage this situation,” said Hall.

Although staff members working alongside the infected employee in the unit were now in self-isolation, the hospital would ensure there were enough staff to continue to take care of all residents.

“We are taking direction from ARPHS and technical support from Waitematā DHB to stand up the extra processes and protocols needed to protect our residents, staff and community. We have sufficient PPE supplies and staff levels to ensure we can continue providing the best quality care we can,” said Hall.

“This is a distressing time for the staff, residents and their families however we are keeping calm and focussed on doing everything we can to keep everyone safe and well.”


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