Coronavirus: Two Waterlooville care home residents die after four test positive for Covid-19

A CARE home remains in partial lockdown following the deaths of two residents who died after being admitted to Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 4:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th April 2020, 10:29 pm

Four residents tested positive for Covid-19 at South Africa Lodge, which is home to 94 residents in Stakes Hill Road, Waterlooville. All four exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus towards the end of March.

The test results were given on Wednesday April 1, showing the residents – a woman and three men, all in their 80s – had all contracted Covid-19.

The two units housing the residents were placed on lockdown, with only care staff attending with masks, aprons, and gloves.

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South Africa Lodge

Last week, two of the men were admitted to Queen Alexandra Hospital and subsequently died, according to staff at the care home.

Both of the men had underlying health conditions.

It comes as latest figures published by NHS England show that 77 people confirmed to have the virus have died at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

On Monday, Portsmouth City Council confirmed four residents at Harry Sotnick House, in Buckland, had died after showing Covid-19 symptoms. A fifth died but had not shown symptoms. None were tested.

QA Hospital, in Cosham, where two of the care home residents were admitted.

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Johann Van Zyl, chief executive of Cornerstone Health Group, which owns South Africa Lodge, said it was a ‘heartbreaking’ time for the relatives of those who had died and those who cannot visit their loved ones due to the national lockdown.

Mr Van Zyl said: ‘It's heartbreaking for relatives as they cannot be with them. It's very tough for them.

‘Our staff are working exceptionally hard to keep everyone safe.’

The care home had been supported ‘brilliantly’ by NHS staff, Mr Van Zyl said.

He added: ‘‘At this time of year it could have been a normal chest infection – but we do not take chances.’

‘We have received daily updates from (NHS staff) via email.’

Relatives of the residents who have died have been contacted, and a letter from the chief executive has been sent out to all residents and their next of kin regarding the outbreak.

In the letter, Mr Van Zyl said: ‘Whilst we can never love for your relative like you do, we are all doing our very best to ensure their continued safety and wellbeing and caring for them as we always do.

‘We have had very little absence – expect those who have to isolate due to family being at high risk and there has been a marked increase in overtime and covering shifts to help each other out.

‘In the last two weeks we have had 19 new members of staff through induction and we are continuing with our training and support programmes.’

The 16-person unit housing the two residents who have died is no longer in lockdown, while the other unit – housing 14 residents – remains in lockdown as a male coronavirus patient is still showing symptoms, but his condition is improving.

Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond said: ‘I would like to express my sympathies to the families of the two people who died of Coronavirus and were living at the South Africa Lodge nursing home.

‘Care homes have a vital role to play in helping us win this war against the virus and substantial government support is being given. I thank everyone in the care home sector who is working hard to ease the pressure on the NHS.’

She added: ‘This is a certainly a very concerning time for care home residents and their families, who in most cases now cannot see their loved ones as they self-isolate. However, this approach is saving lives. We must stay at home to protect the NHS.’

Concerns have been raised by some homes across the county about the lack of protective equipment. The government has committed to provide PPE for care homes.

But David Sheppard, director of Blue Water Care Home in North End which looks after residents with Alzheimer's and dementia, said: 'Nobody here has any symptoms, including staff and residents.

'We have been very strict with lockdown and been very regimented with cleaning and all the government guidelines. We have brought in more staff to carry out extra cleaning.

'We have got no problems with PPE or food because we long prepared for this.’

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