An Auckland retirement village accused of enforcing a “lockdown” following an outbreak of gastro has denied the claims, saying it would “never lock anyone in”.
Evelyn Page Retirement Village in Orewa has been dealing with an outbreak of suspected norovirus since June 16, with a total of 43 cases since.
A resident told Stuff she had not been allowed to leave her room and felt like she was “living in a jail”. She also claimed visitors were being turned away.
And, the daughter of another resident was told that the village was in “lockdown” and she couldn’t visit, Stuff reported.
However, Ryman Healthcare corporate affairs manager David King said the village was not in lockdown.
“We have written to families and residents letting them know, and said they are welcome to visit, but have to take precautions,” he said.
“What is correct is we’ve suspended all communal activities, where large numbers of people would normally get together, while they have the bug, because that is how bugs spread.”
This includes exercise classes, movies, bingo and meal times.
“Residents have had their meals in their rooms, but we would never lock anyone in,” he said.
King said the Auckland District Health Board had approved all precautions put in place at the village.
“All of this is done to protect everyone from the bug spreading. We are doing our best to get everyone well and get through it.
“We are hoping we are through the worst of it but you need 48 hours of all clear before precautions can be lifted.”
Dr Jay Harrower, medical officer of health for Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said it had advised the residential facility to isolate residents with symptoms of the illness to their rooms while the outbreak is ongoing.
“Older people are particularly vulnerable to serious illness and death from gastroenteritis,” Harrower said.
“Guidelines for the management of this disease also advise no visitors during an outbreak as they are likely to get ill.
“They can bring in other diseases, infecting residents who already have a weakened immune system because of gastroenteritis.”
Harrower said ARPHS frequently supports residential care facilities to manage outbreaks of gastroenteritis.
“Most of these are due to norovirus. This virus spreads very easily where people are living in close quarters, such as rest homes.
“Our health protection officers check infection control in the facility, giving the all-clear when no further cases are likely to occur.”