A Christchurch care home – unrelated to the first aged-care coronavirus cases in the city - has been named as the city's first Covid-19 cluster.
Rosewood Rest Home and Hospitals at Woodham Rd in Linwood with 16 confirmed and probable cases was named by the Ministry of Health this afternoon.
One family member, who has an elderly relative at Rosewood, told the Herald they were confident in the care their loved one was getting – but said the situation was moving very quickly.
Family members were seen at the facility this afternoon, where several ambulances and paramedics vehicles were coming and going. Paramedics were all wearing comprehensive protective gear.
Private security guards in face masks were also patrolling the perimeter.
A Rosewood staff member directed all media enquiries to the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).
Twenty of the residents have been moved to be treated at Burwood Hospital to ensure they're appropriately cared for, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.
The privately owned facility has two specialised dementia care units and a total of 64 residents.
CDHB chief executive David Meates has authorised that 20 residents from its hospital level dementia facility be temporarily moved to Burwood Hospital and an acting manager for Rosewood Rest Home be appointed effective immediately.
In addition to the 20 residents who have been transferred to Burwood Hospital today, there are an additional 44 residents with dementia remaining at Rosewood Rest Home in two separate wings.
All residents are being treated as close contacts and will be tested if they display symptoms of Covid-19.
The relocation means the group of 20 residents will be able to isolate as a group in their "bubble" at Burwood Hospital.
As at midday today there was a total of 16 cases, with four residents as confirmed cases and eight residents probable cases.
One staff member is a confirmed case and three staff members are probable cases.
While the residents are at Burwood Hospital, Rosewood Rest Home will be able to carry out a deep clean of affected wings before the residents move back when the DHB knows that all residents are clear of infection.
Due to the large number of Covid-19 infections, a large number of staff now have to self-isolate (including the facility manager) – which is why the DHB says it has appointed a temporary manager and is assisting to identify replacement staff at very short notice.
Today, the DHB is working to secure additional experienced staff to care for the 44 remaining residents at Rosewood Rest Home. If unable to source appropriate staff, CDHB says it may have to look at further relocations, although this is not the current plan.
"Our priority is to ensure that all residents of Rosewood Rest Home receive quality care in a safe environment. I want to reassure all the families involved that everyone is working together to ensure this is the case," Meates says.
"A range of staff from across the Canterbury Health System have been called on to assist, and I thank them for putting themselves forward for this important work caring for some of the most vulnerable in our community."
It's a separate case to George Manning Lifecare & Village in Spreydon, where two residents tested positive last week.
Heritage Lifecare chief executive Norah Barlow today said the two George Manning residents affected, who are in isolation and receiving onsite medical treatment, are "both doing well".
And she also revealed that two staff members have also tested positive but are "also both doing well".
Staff who had close contact with the affected residents are all in isolation for 14 days.
Eighty-six Cantabrians have now tested positive for the virus, with 20 new cases, and the first cluster, announced in the past day. None is in hospital.
Christchurch compost company Living Earth had eight Covid-19 cases confirmed by the Ministry of Health last week. It was deemed as a cluster at the time, but as of April 1, the ministry is classifying clusters as having more than 10 cases.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand yesterday ticked above 1000 people to 1039.
Only information about "significant" clusters of 10 or more people is being published on the Ministry of Health website, with 12 such clusters across the country.
They may not be new or recent cases, but have been linked because they have been in the same place.
The country's biggest cluster is linked to Marist College in Auckland.
Meanwhile, a Christchurch man charged with filming himself deliberately coughing on supermarket shoppers has appeared in court today.
Raymond Gary Coombs, 38, faced two charges at Christchurch District Court where he appeared from custody via audio-video link this morning.
One charge is of criminal nuisance - and one is of failing to follow a Medical Officer of Health's orders.
The latter charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison.
Coombs was remanded in custody until Thursday while the court awaits his Covid-19 test results.