Six residents at Whitianga Care Centre and Village have died from an influenza outbreak in the space of 12 days.
Care centre owner Oceania Healthcare confirmed the deaths to Waikato Herald and identified the strain of flu as influenza A. The virus was first identified in the centre on January 26 and all of the fatalities occurred between January 28 and February 8.
Dr Felicity Dumble from Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, said they were notified of an outbreak with influenza-like symptoms at a Whitianga aged residential care centre on January 28.
“The National Public Health Service (NPHS) provided information and guidance for managing the outbreak.
“From a NPHS perspective, the outbreak was closed on February 9 based on no further spread of the illness.”
Oceania group general manager for sales and services, Anita Hawthorne, said they had procedures in place for outbreaks of this type.
Residential aged care centre in Whitianga owned by Oceania Healthcare, has had six residents pass away due to an influenza outbreak. Photo / Google street view
“The first influenza patient was identified on January 26 [and] since that time we worked closely with Te Whatu Ora, and followed all infection control procedures including deep cleaning, isolating those with symptoms, and wearing full PPE.”
Influenza A symptoms included fevers, sore throats, coughs and headaches.
Hawthorne wanted to reassure the public that the outbreak was under control.
“There are currently no residents or team members with any symptoms, and no one is in hospital.
“We worked closely with Te Whatu Ora ensuring full Infection control protocols were followed, and can advise that there are no more influenza virus cases at our centre.”
She said the centre’s main focus now was the health of surrounding members.
“Our deepest sympathies are with those families who have lost a loved one through the influenza virus.
“As always, our main focus continues to be the wellbeing of our residents and team members.”
Malisha Kumar is a multimedia journalist based in Hamilton. She joined the Waikato Herald in 2023 after working for Radio 1XX in Whakatāne.
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