Kāpiti Mayor K Gurunathan says all rest home staff and new arrivals should be tested.
‘I urge Capital and Coast Health Board and Wellington Regional Public Health to heed this call by Aged Care Association CEO. Simon Wallace,’ he says.
Twelve large care homes in Kāpiti
‘Kāpiti has a dozen large aged-care facilities employing almost 8 percent of the district’s workforce. I want our most vulnerable citizens and the workers who support them to be protected.’
He says recent deaths, and the discovery of Covid-19 clusters at rest homes elsewhere in the country highlights what people have known from the beginning of the pandemic — the elderly are particularly vulnerable to serious infection.
He adds: ‘For some time we have been concerned about the safety of this sector. Council ‘s EOC staff have been ringing our aged-care facilities regularly to check on how they were coping.
Mayor refers to Dr Bloomfield’s plan
‘While I’m confident the owners of these facilities would have taken the required steps, like lockdowns and hygiene protocols, I refer to the statement by Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, that he had written to all DHBs asking staff to systematically inspect each aged-care facility to assess their protocols to prevent spreading infection and the amount of protective equipment in stock.
‘We want to be really sure the settings are water-tight to be able to protect staff and residents….what we have found with clusters that have broken out, there were some deficiencies in the procedures,” he says.
Regional Health and DHB urged to act
‘I urge Regional Public Health and the CCDHB to take further steps and heed the call by the Aged Care Association to test all the workers and new arrivals to create a watertight protection of our most vulnerable citizens and the committed workforce supporting their wellbeing.
‘;Aged-care workers in Kapiti I have talked to support the call.’
Vital to economic recovery
Mayor Gurunathan also says: ‘Their continued health is also important to the economic recovery of Kapiti as we get out of this lockdown.
‘A major contributor of jobs and income — in 2018 this sector’s GDP contribution to the district was $95.7m.’