'Err on the side of caution': Erskine retirement community praised for responsible action in response to COVID-19

Residents and staff of an Erskine retirement village have been praised for their quick response after a resident was diagnosed with COVID-19 this week.

The Mandurah Mail reported yesterday that seniors at Bridgewater Lifestyle Village in Erskine were "scared out of their wits" after receiving an email confirming a resident of the retirement village had contracted COVID-19 and they were urged to self-isolate if they had been in contact with him between March 8-22.

New information received by the Mail today suggests the Bridgewater homeowner self-isolated when he developed cold and flu symptoms last Sunday.

He was then told on Tuesday that he had tested positive to COVID-19.

In line with its Pandemic Management Plan, village management immediately alerted the Department of Health and advised the entire village community by SMS.

All homeowners were asked to self-isolate until further information was available. The village and communal areas were immediately closed for deep cleaning.

Village management sent out an email identifying the diagnosed resident on Wednesday.

The email from village management.

The email from village management.

Rob Nichols, chief executive of Serenitas which owns Bridgewater Lifestyle Village, praised the decisive and immediate actions of community management, the diagnosed resident and the wider park community.

"The health and wellbeing of all our residents is paramount," Mr Nichols said.

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"Given the general uncertainty regarding the infectious period for COVID-19, management preferred to err on the side of caution and request the self-isolation of any resident who had come into close contact with the patient in the two weeks leading up to his onset of symptoms and self-isolation on March 22.

"I would particularly like to thank the diagnosed resident for his responsible actions in self-isolating as soon as he became symptomatic, and also for selflessly approving his identity to be made known to fellow residents to assist with contact tracing.

Homes in the Bridgewater Lifestyle Village. Photo: Website

Homes in the Bridgewater Lifestyle Village. Photo: Website

"The immediate actions of all residents in self-isolating until further information was received was also greatly appreciated as such community cooperation is vital in containing potential spread."

Other proactive strategies implemented by management to support residents during the current pandemic include an emergency medicine telehealth program to give them access to emergency healthcare around the clock, and establishment of a buddy system to ensure all residents remain connected and have a "mate" to rely on during these difficult times.

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"We will continue to support all our residents during this unprecedented global crisis with their physical and emotional health our number one priority," Mr Nichols said.

Bridgewater Lifestyle Village is the second retirement village in Mandurah with a confirmed case of the virus, after the Mandurah Mail earlier yesterday reported on a Lakelands couple that had fallen ill with the virus. Earlier this week, a Halls Head childcare worker was reported to be in isolation, believed to be the first confirmed case in Mandurah.

A communal area at Bridgewater Lifestyle Village.

A communal area at Bridgewater Lifestyle Village.

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