Up to 20 residents from the Auckland rest home confirmed as one of New Zealand's coronavirus clusters will be taken to hospital over the weekend.

Waitematā DHB said it is helping to temporarily transfer some residents from St Margaret's rest home in Te Atatu to Waitakere Hospital to overcome short-term staffing shortages.

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Three ambulances and security descended on the aged care home this afternoon.

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The home has been linked to at least 15 Covid-19 cases as of yesterday.

A number of St Margaret's staff are in precautionary self-isolation because of their close contact with people confirmed positive for Covid-19, the health board said. This has affected St Margaret's ability to maintain a full staffing roster.

St Margaret's rest home, Beach Rd, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell
St Margaret's rest home, Beach Rd, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell
One of three St John ambulances that were parked in the drive of St Margaret's rest home in Te Atatu around 4pm on April 17. Photo / Hayden Woodward
One of three St John ambulances that were parked in the drive of St Margaret's rest home in Te Atatu around 4pm on April 17. Photo / Hayden Woodward

The home and the DHB agreed this afternoon to transfer six St Margaret's residents to Waitakere Hospital and up to 14 more will be moved over the weekend if required by St Margaret's.

"The DHB will apply its compassionate visiting guidelines to allow the loved ones of residents to visit them where appropriate," the board said.

"The transfers will ensure the residents receive the support they need while St Margaret's staff are cleared to return to work. A number of Waitematā DHB staff continue working inside the facility to help maintain business-as-usual care to other residents."

The residents will return to St Margaret's as soon as there is enough staff.


A witness said three ambulances were parked in the home's driveway at 4.30pm today and a security guard barred the drive.

The 15 confirmed Covid-19 cases linked to St Margaret's in Te Atatu were announced on Tuesday this week.

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CHT Healthcare Trust chief executive Max Robins said the cluster included people within the home and in the community, all linked by transmission.

Because of the evolving situation, Robins would not provide a breakdown of who was a positive or a probable Covid-19 case, or how many people were in precautionary isolation.

He was not sure how the virus got into St Margaret's.

The first positive result in the cluster was confirmed early in the month, and the facility has worked closely with Auckland Regional Public Health Service since.

The son of a woman living in the home said he last saw his mother shortly before the lockdown began.

St Margaret's Hospital and Rest Home in Te Atatu has had 15 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Photo / Hayden Woodward
St Margaret's Hospital and Rest Home in Te Atatu has had 15 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Photo / Hayden Woodward

Visitors were already barred from entering the rest home and so he and his children were allowed to speak to her through a window.

Since then his mother had been following news of the outbreak but was doing okay.

He claimed rest home staff did not call to tell him about the outbreak at St Margaret's, despite saying publicly they had contacted all families.

However, he believed the staff and rest home were doing their best in the trying circumstances as they sent him photos of his mum and video messages from her.