New report: The Long-Term Care COVID-19 situation in Aotearoa New Zealand

Etuini Ma’u1, Jackie Robinson1, Gary Cheung1, Neil Miller2, and Sarah Cullum1
1University of Auckland
2New Zealand Aged Care Association

New report on the impact of COVID-19 on people using long-term care services in New Zealand:

Key points:

  • As at 22 July 2020, Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) has experienced 1,555 cases of COVID-19. Of these, 1,506 have recovered and there have been 22 deaths.
  • The Ministry of Health (MOH) identified five significant COVID-19 clusters in aged residential care (ARC) facilities, <1% of the 650 facilities throughout the country
  • There were 153 COVID-19 cases linked to five ARC clusters accounting for 10.2% of all cases in the country.  Cases of COVID-19 consisted of 39 residents and 78 health care workers, with a further 36 linked to the health-care workers.
  • There were 16 COVID-19 related deaths in residents of ARC facilities, the majority occurring in hospital.  
  • The early stages of pandemic planning by the New Zealand Ministry of Health (MoH) and District Health Boards (DHB) focussed on hospital and secondary care.
  • Planning for the impact on the ARC sector was limited in the early stages of the pandemic.  When cases began to occur in ARC facilities, the MoH in partnership with the DHBs began to develop policies and procedures to support the ARC sector.
  • While ARC facilities had existing infection control and pandemic policies, none were prepared for the scale of the outbreak or the resulting reduction in care home staff as a result of standing down staff who had contact with COVID19 cases.
  • The psychosocial impact on staff, resident, and whānau (family) wellbeing is thought to have been significant.

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