No further staff cases at Q'town hospital - but treatment options limited

by Peter Newport - Apr 01, 2020

The SDHB's CEO Chris Fleming told an online media conference this afternoon that he's hopeful that no further staff at the Lakes District Hospital will test positive for Covid-19. So far two nurses have returned positive test results. None of the more recent tests have yet come back positive.

SDHB CEO Chris Fleming spoke to media by Zoom this afternoon

Mr Fleming revealed that the two infectious Covid-19 patients admitted to the Queenstown Hospital were not always kept in the emergency ward's negative pressure room, but he claimed that this did not contribute to the spread of Covid-19 to the nursing staff.

Asked whether the absence of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Lakes District Hospital would make the use of ventilators at Lakes District Hospital difficult, Mr Fleming said that it would be "very much more challenging."

He added that even with this limitation, anybody with symptoms who tested positive for Covid-19 in the Southern Lakes district should still regard the Lakes District Hospital as the first option for care. "Do not travel to Dunedin or Invercargill hospitals. If people need to be moved out of the Queenstown area then we will make those arrangements."

Mr Fleming said that the SDHB region as a whole has capacity for 34 ventilator-supported Covid-19 patients with the forecast demand potentially being for 38. The Lakes District Hospital has just one ventilator and an older unit as a back up. The ventilators needs specialist staff and usually an ICU environment to be used effectively.

Responding to questions about the relatively high number of Southern Lakes Covid-19 cases, Mr Fleming attributed this to higher rates of testing. Here's the breakdown by location of the latest SDHB cases.

The latest Covid-19 data for the SDHB region - April 1st.

 The Southern Lakes now has the highest number of cases in the country.

The SDHB has the highest number of cases in NZ

 Here is the latest cluster information from the Ministry of Health.


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