Media advisory #37 Fears allayed as rest home staff are tested for COVID-19


Kowhainui rest home manager Trish Boswell says COVID testing not as bad as she expected.

22 May 2020


The prospect of undergoing a nasal swab for COVID-19 can understandably be a little daunting.


And it may have caused some apprehension among staff at Kowhainui rest home when they were approached to be tested for the virus.


Aged residential facilities were among a number of targets as Whanganui District Health Board looked to increase its testing rate.


But worst fears were allayed when nurses visited the Virginia Road complex the other week, swabbing 20 rest home staff.


Kowhainui manager Trish Boswell said the test was “relatively painless – a bit uncomfortable but certainly nothing like some of the stories I had heard”.


“I want to thank the team for coming on site to offer this service, and I commend them on the efficient process. The lovely personality and skill of the tester put staff at ease.”


She said it was also very useful to have experienced the test so that they could inform residents or their family members what was involved.


The visit to aged residential care facilities was part of a concerted push to boost testing rates which saw mobile “pop-up” clinics in Marton, Matahiwi, Ratana and Pipiriki in a move to engage people in the more remote areas of the region.


The result is that Whanganui District Health Board has the second highest COVID-19 testing rate in the country, testing 41 in every 1000 people in the region, equivalent to approximately 5 per cent of the population. The national average is 35 people per 1000.