Ellerslie Gardens Lifecare is in lockdown after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

Family members whose relatives may have been in contact with a carer who was on duty on March 15 and 16 have been contacted by phone.

Relatives of all 80 family members have been sent an email advising them of the situation and the 48-hour lockdown.

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Heritage Lifecare Group chief executive Norah Barlow confirmed the worker had returned from Zimbabwe on March 10 and due to there being no travel restrictions or self-isolation rules in place, she returned to work on March 15 for her night shift.

Barlow said the worker then phoned her manager and advised that she had a headache. She was told to stay home and seek medical advice, which she did.

She was tested for Covid-19 and her results came back positive yesterday.

Barlow said as soon as they received the results they put the village into a 48-hour lockdown and have been seeking advice from the Ministry of Health. The village has been in lockdown since Saturday night.

The 11 residents who were cared for by her will each be isolated for 14 days.

"Nightshift is not really close contact, but could have been in contact. So it's those people we are directly talking with whereas everyone else is getting an email and advice."

The village was also told that none of the elderly residents would be tested unless they started showing symptoms, but after speaking with family members it had sought further advice from the Ministry of Health.

A family member of a resident, who spoke to the Herald on the provision he was not named, said he was outraged a staff member was allowed to arrive from overseas and then go to work where she was in contact with society's most vulnerable residents.


The man, who was notified this morning, was concerned the village was not doing enough to protect residents.

His mother had also visited the village yesterday, so they were also concerned she could have been exposed to it.

Barlow said the worker had not been in contact with residents since 6.30am on March 17. Staff members had been wearing masks on the shifts because another resident had a cough.

"We will do absolutely everything to ensure what we need to do we will do. We haven't delayed - it's just the processes of the world we live in," she said.

"I think we all know that we are all working really, really hard for the protection of residents. We are not in it to do anything other than that."

Barlow said they had followed all the correct processes so far.


Heritage Lifecare's other villages remain open to family members but the number of visitors is being limited and visitors must have their temperatures checked.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

A Ministry of Health spokesperson referred the Herald to the 1pm press conference where the latest cases would be confirmed.