7 May 2020

Covid-19 screening expanded for rest home residents

7:08 am on 7 May 2020

Health officials have launched a new Covid-19 screening survey for rest home residents, expected to trigger more testing of new, returning or discharged residents.

A nurse takes a Covid-19 test swab from a man in Toulouse, 28 April 2020.

A Covid-19 test being taken. Photo: AFP

The questions in a form dispatched to District Health Boards and aged care facilities by the Ministry of Health ask whether the residents have had any of 17 symptoms, ranging from muscle or joint pain to irritability.

People who say yes to any of the symptoms can be tested.

The Aged Care Association's chief executive, Simon Wallace, said the new system was so rigourous that everyone will be tested.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP

"What we will be doing is checking with our rest home members to make sure that this rigour is being applied consistently by all DHBs around the country," he said.

However, Wallace added he was disappointed it had taken so long for the testing to be expanded in rest homes.

He said that as the country moves through alert levels, tight controls on visitors to aged care facilities need to be maintained.

The manager of the Kerikeri retirement village, Hilary Sumpter, hadn't seen the new criteria when contacted by RNZ last night, but after reviewing it, she said the rest home was already observing the same policy internally.

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