Ashwood Park introduced measures to help safeguard their residents prior to lockdown. Photo: File

Urgent checks on rest home infection controls ordered

Rest home bosses are carrying out urgent infection control checks in a bid to keep Covid-19 from some of the region’s most vulnerable.

Nelson Marlborough Health staff are getting aged care facilities across the region to complete a checklist to gauge the risk of contamination.

And site visits will be carried out to see what further support is needed.

Six of the nine deaths nationwide from Covid-19 have been at a Christchurch rest home.

Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield launched a review of rest home facilities with confirmed Covid-19 cases on Tuesday.

General manager Strategy, Primary and Community, Nelson Marlborough Health Cathy O’Malley says she is aware of the effort staff are putting in to keeping people safe.

“Nelson Marlborough Health acknowledges the effort and expertise of aged residential care providers to keep their residents and staff safe during this pandemic,” she says.

While there have been no new Covid-19 cases for a week in Marlborough, it is essential care home providers stay vigilant, Cathy says.

Rest home managers and staff are carrying out self-assessment on infection prevention policies and practices.

The results will be carefully scrutinised and online meetings held with care providers to discuss results.

“We want to support providers to stay on top of this,” Cathy says.

“The next step will be to visit any providers as required, to assess their site and see what further support they may need.”

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Marlborough marks six days with no more Covid-19 cases

Marlborough is now marking six days without any new cases of Covid-19.

There are 20 new and probable cases of Covid-19 across New Zealand, taking the total to 1386.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield this afternoon revealed 728 reported cases that have recovered.

The number of cases in Marlborough and Nelson is at 48, with all patients recovering in isolation at home.

As at 15 April 2020, the total number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the Nelson Marlborough region is 29.

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Five days without more Marlborough Covid-19 cases

For the fifth day in a row, there are no new cases of Covid-19.

The number of new and probable cases in New Zealand rose by 17 to a total of 1,366.

But numbers in Marlborough have stayed static at 48.

Speaking a few minutes ago, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield say he believes the peak number of cases has passed.

But as the number of Covid-19 deaths rises to a total of nine he has asked for District Health Boards across the country to work with aged care facilities where vulnerable residents are at particular risk.

A low threshold is also in place to ensure maximum testing for the contagious virus.

“We want to be sure we are not missing cases. We would rather overtest than under test at this stage quite frankly,” he says.

More to follow

Dr Nick Baker is appealing for people with existing or new medical issues to seek help if they need it. Photo: File

No new Covid-19 cases in Marlborough

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in Marlborough for the fourth day in a row.

The number of cases across Nelson Marlborough DHB is 48 with 12 confirmed cases and nine probable cases in Marlborough.

There are 19 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, taking the total number to 1349.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says 546 people across the country who had Covid-19 have now recovered, 75 more people than yesterday.

The news as comes as Nelson Marlborough Health officials appeal to people not to delay seeking help for other new or existing health conditions.

A delay in getting help could see little problems develop into major issues, warns Nelson Marlborough Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Baker.

“We have seen cases recently where people have put off getting health care and illnesses have got worse.

“What may start as a minor issue could become serious if you leave it too long,” he says.

“Please don’t wait until the end of weekends, public holidays, or until the end of the lockdown period, to seek medical attention,” he says.

For more information about where to get healthcare in the Nelson Marlborough region, go to: www.nmdhb.govt.nz/healthcare/

People with new or existing health worries should not delay in getting medical help and advice, doctors warn. Photo: File

Get medical help if needed implore health bosses

People with health problems are leaving it too late to get help, putting themselves at risk during lockdown medical bosses warn.

Health care professionals are urging people not to put off seeking medical help for problems that could become a bigger risk if not treated.

Nelson Marlborough healthcare professionals say people should call their doctor or practice nurse if they are sick in a bid to stop medical problems becoming more serious.

A delay in getting help because of fears about leaving isolation could see little problems develop into major issues, warns Nelson Marlborough Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Baker.

“We have seen cases recently where people have put off getting health care and illnesses have got worse.

“What may start as a minor issue could become serious if you leave it too long,” he says.

“Please don’t wait until the end of weekends, public holidays, or until the end of the lockdown period, to seek medical attention.”

GP clinics, health centres, Healthline, urgent care centres, pharmacies and emergency departments are open during lockdown.

“People can contact their local urgent care clinic or call the general Healthline number for advice.

“For emergencies, people shouldn’t hesitate to call 111 or go to a hospital emergency department.

“Our teams are there to provide care and that hasn’t changed during the Covid-19 response or lockdown period,” says Dr Baker.

Acting Chief Executive of Nelson Bays Primary Health Karen Winton encourages anyone to call their GP clinic for advice.

She says older people should be especially vigilant and reach out for help if they need it. Help is at hand, she says.

“These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary measures. But the message is clear, general practice (your family doctor) and urgent care centres are open for business, even if that business is delivered in a slightly different way.

“If you are over 70 and not meant to be leaving your home during the lockdown period, please call your GP first for a phone assessment.

“If you need to be seen, come in and they will make sure you are safe when you visit.

“Using a car to seek essential health care is allowed, and the sooner you are assessed, the better your health outcome will usually be.”

During lockdown, patients are being offered consultations over the phone, email or video call.

But people should not be afraid to leave their bubble for help if needed, with medical staff on hand to help. Patients will be seen in person if they need to be.

Dr Baker emphasises people should not delay seeking help for urgent needs due to fear of leaving their bubble and being at risk of being infected with COVID-19.

“New Zealand hospitals follow international best practice for infection prevention.

“Things will look different when you go to an after-hours clinic or ED. You may be screened – asked questions about your symptoms – at the door for example, given a mask to wear, or assessed in a cabin outside of the main building.

“These are all precautions to keep you and others safe from infection,” he says.

For more information about where to get healthcare in the Nelson Marlborough region, go to: www.nmdhb.govt.nz/healthcare/

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

No new Covid-19 cases in region for two days

There have been no new Covid-19 cases in the Nelson Marlborough region since 9 April.

Health bosses say 26 people have now recovered from the virus.

The total cases for Marlborough remians 12 confirmed and 9 probable.

Nelson has 21 confirmed cases and 6 probable.

More than 1000 people have been assessed and 600 tested in Marlborough, Nelson and Motueka.

All cases are travel-related and there is no evidence of community outbreak.

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

One more Marlborough patient likely to have Covid-19

A woman in her 40s is the latest person to become ill with Covid-19 in Marlborough, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

Today’s announcement takes the total numer of confirmed and probable cases of the virus to 48 across Nelson and Marlborough Dustricy Health Board. Twenty one of these cases are in Marlborough.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says there is still no evidence of community transmisson with all cases connected to travel.

No cases are in hospital and patients are isolating at home.

The news comes as the total number of cases nationwide sits at 1239, with 29 new cases today; the lowest daily number since before lockdiwn started.

Addressing the country earlier this afternoon, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Kiwis have played a vital role in keeping the number of cases down.

People with new or existing health worries should not delay in getting medical help and advice, doctors warn. Photo: File

One more Covid-19 case in Marlborough

A woman in her 40s has become the lastest to fall foul of Covid-19 in Marlborough.

Nelson Marlborough has confirmed one more probable case in the region as the total number of cases in Nelson Marlborough rises to 30.

But a patient who has spent the last few days in isolation at Wairau Hospital has been discharged after making a good recovery.

Across New Zealand there are now 868 confirmed and probable cases, with latest figures showing 103 patients have recovered.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says there are also two more cases in Nelson.

This comes after 52 people were assessed in Blenheim yesterday and 14 swabs taken for testing.

Nine people across Nelson Marlborough have recovered from the virus.

None of the cases in the clusters have had to be admitted to Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Two clusters of Covid-19 under investigation

The Ministry of Health is investigating two clusters of Covid-19 cases in Blenheim – all linked to travel.

Ministry of Health staff have today classed six cases of Covid-19 in the region as a cluster.

Latest figures show that the cases are all linked to two sources; Marlborough Alzheimers and an New Zealand Air Force rugby team



This includes one probable case.

A Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) spokeswoman says The Ministry of Health confirmed a cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases among an Air Force rugby team who had returned to New Zealand from a US rugby tour.

Six of the nine Air Force cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours,

Although the Ministry reports nine cases, only three of the nine cases reside in the Marlborough region.

Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) Clinical Director of Public Health Dr Stephen Bridgman says that it’s important people do not confuse ‘cluster’ with ‘community transmission’.

“A thorough investigation and contact tracing process was completed after the first of these cases was confirmed on 22 March.

“Investigation found that local cases in this cluster were related to travel.

“All local cases have been in isolation since upon their return from the USA, and I thank them all for working closely with the public health team to ensure they remain in strict isolation.

“People do not need to be concerned about these cases’ movements in the community,” Dr Bridgman says.

“Our message for the community is that the NMPHS, and the national close contact tracing service, undertake expert contact tracing to reach close contacts – the people most at risk – as they determine necessary. Close contacts will be contacted directly.”

A cluster is where there are a group of COVID-19 cases who are linked together because they have been in the same place together.

There are some clusters of cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. Most of these clusters have a link to someone or several people who have travelled overseas recently.

Fourteen clusters under investigation across New Zealand with possible contacts being traced.

The move comes as front-line health workers in Nelson Marlborough are set to get a boost in protective medical gear.

NMH will receive 41,580 masks for distribution to health and disability workers in our region as part of a Government decision to release 1.2 million masks from national pandemic stock.

With the assurance this new stock arriving in the next 48 hours, NMH will start to distribute more masks from our own reserves in the meantime, the spokeswoman says.

General manager strategy primary and community, Nelson Marlborough Health Cathy O’Malley says staff will be reminded and taught how and when to use PPE masks.

“We will continue to teach and remind health and disability workers about how and when to use PPE such as masks, to ensure that it is used correctly and responsibly.

“Basic hygiene measures are still the best defence against COVID-19, so training and reminders about this will also continue,” she says.

More masks will be distributed to hospitals and primary care facilities, aged residential care providers, community pharmacies, community mental health providers, home-based support workers, disability support services and community midwives.

If members of the community want to know how to use a mask correctly, there is a video on the Ministry of Health’s website :www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-essential-workers

A question mark hangs over two large scale events in the region, including Feast Marlborough in May. File photo.

Pandemic threatens busy event season

The future of two major Marlborough events hangs in the balance amid coronavirus fears.

Organisers behind the popular Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon and Feast Marlborough are waiting for a government announcement on guidelines for large events.

No final decisions have been made as the number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand rises to eight.

The move comes just three days after the last-minute cancellation of the annual Framingham Harvest Concert amid fears over the spread of Covid-19.

In an online post, Saint Clair say they have had “a number of enquiries” from people worried the May event will be cancelled.

“At this stage, we are watching the situation closely and we expect a government announcement on events in the coming days.

“We will be following their guidance on this and will update our plans accordingly. We will keep our entrants fully informed as the situation evolves.

“We will follow standard practice regarding cancellation of events, should government advice be to cancel public events.”

Feast Marlborough staff say they are closely monitoring the situation “as a matter of urgency.”

The event is scheduled to take place in May.

Shipwrecks Kidsworld in Picton is temporarily ceasing operations, shitting its doors last week.

Only parties alre4day booked will be allowed to go ahead.

“The health and safety of our young customers is extremely important to us.

“We thank you for your support over the past few years and we look forward to being of service to you again in the future,” says a spokeswoman.

Nelson Marlborough Health say there are no confirmed cases of the illness in the region.

“There are no confirmed cases in the Nelson Marlborough region and the Ministry of Health emphasises that, with continued vigilance, the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

People who have symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath should stay at home and seek medical advice from Healthline,” says a spokeswoman.

People with symptoms should call ahead before going to a GP clinic, pharmacy or hospital department.

New border measures are in place as of Monday. Most travellers arriving in New Zealand are now required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Phone the free Healthline number for specialised Coronavirus advice: 0800 358 5453