Coronavirus: High security remains at rest homes for most vulnerable

People over 70-years-old are the most at-risk group for COVID-19.

A woman in her 90s from the St Margarets rest home cluster is the latest to die from the virus and all our victims have been over 60.

So how do seniors feel about moving from level 4 down to level 3?

Other than his daily walks, for the past four weeks, 83-year-old Neville McNee hasn't gone much further than his house and garden.

"Furtherest [sic] we've been is to the doctor to get our flu injection," he told Newshub.

Under level 3 seniors will have some restrictions eased but not much.

"For younger people, it's good that people can work again now but for older people, it doesn't make much difference," McNee said.

Over-70s will be allowed to extend their bubble slightly, allowing close family or a caregiver into their home.

They'll be able to go to a local beach or park for fresh air, go to the chemist or supermarket, take children to school if they're caregivers, and volunteer or even go to work.

But for rest homes level 3 may as well be level 4.

"For our residents it's very much still border security for us. It's protecting them so that they stay safe so we're concerned about their welfare and their wellbeing," says Archer Group general manager Graeme Mitchell.

Archer Village went into lockdown a week before the rest of the country. Five weeks later, the 24/7 care wing will stay that way.

"We've got the most frail and vulnerable people," Mitchell says. "We need to do everything we can to keep them well. I don't want to take any risk of any outbreaks in our home."

Eighty-year-old Des Baxter has been living at Archer Village for seven years.

"I'm part of the large bubble and I'm particularly happy," he says.

Aldy Butcher lives in the retirement village arm and has recently celebrated a milestone - turning 100-years-old.

"I never expected to get to 100, I don't know why I've got here," she says.

A socially distanced birthday party was organised through the fence and residents sang happy birthday.

Under the new restrictions, Butcher's hoping to squeeze one more person into her bubble but won't be able to have a big birthday bash for some time yet.

Tradespeople and gardeners will now be allowed back at aged care facilities under strict health and safety protocols.

Some villages will now be offering viewings for prospective residents by appointment only. These will be limited to one or two people from the same bubble.