Coronavirus: Carer at Auckland rest home tests positive for COVID-19

A carer at an Auckland rest home has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The staff member at Ellerslie Gardens Lifecare facility, owned by Heritage Lifecare Group, tested positive on Saturday.

She had returned from Zimbabwe on March 10, which was before there were travel restrictions and self-isolation rules in place. She worked night shifts on March 15 and 16, but was later advised to stay at home and see a doctor after she reported having a headache.

She's now resting at home after her positive diagnosis and doesn't require hospital care.

All 11 rest home residents in the staff member's work area are now isolated as a precaution and the rest home is in lockdown. The staff who had a close working relationship with her are also isolated and will be tested.

Chief executive of Heritage Lifecare Norah Barlow said in a statement they are following advice from the Ministry of Health and have alerted family members of the situation.

"This is obviously a concerning time for the residents and our team and we are providing them with appropriate support," she said.

"As part of our overall response to COVID-19, all our staff at Ellerslie are taking additional infection control precautions which includes wearing face masks during shifts."

A family member of an 80-year-old resident told Stuff he was disappointed that residents weren't being tested.

"I asked when they will start testing the residents and they said they wouldn't, they were only isolating them," he said. 

"Why are they not testing these vulnerable residents? There are at least 12 rooms on my dad's hallway that this staff member looks after. None of them are below 65, they are all extremely old." 

Heritage says they will provide another update once they receive the test results of staff members.