Coronavirus: Southern DHB testing 36 staff after nurse diagnosed with COVID-19

The Southern DHB is testing 36 staff and undertaking extensive cleaning of the Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown after a nurse was diagnosed with COVID-19.

There have been two infected patients treated so far at the hospital, but the nurse didn't provide care to either of these people. Therefore, the Public Health team is investigating how the nurse contracted the virus.

"We are aware of a number of cases in Queenstown likely due to community transmission and are exploring all possible ways of exposure for this nurse," SDHB said in a statement.

"Lakes District Hospital is a small facility and the nurse was in contact with a number of staff members in the days prior to the onset of symptoms, when she could have been infectious. She was not in contact with any patients during this time."

All of the staff she has been in close contact with are self-isolating for 14 days "with immediate effect". And as a precaution, the SDHB is also testing staff and undertaking an "extensive clean" of the hospital.

During the cleaning and testing period, the Lakes District Hospital will continue to operate its emergency department. Any patient who requires admission will be transferred to another facility.

Primary maternity services will also remain open. The primary birthing unit has been relocated to a separate building on the Lakes District Hospital site and it is now open.

There are 83 COVID-19 cases in the SDHB. This includes 82 confirmed and one probable case. One of these cases is in Dunedin Hospital in a designated COVID-19 ward.

The numbers by territory are:

  • Queenstown Lakes - 31
  • Dunedin - 30 and one probable
  • Invercargill - nine
  • Central Otago - five
  • Clutha - three
  • Southland - two
  • Gore District - one
  • Other/undefined - one