COVID-19 Update: 12 August 2020

Following the Government’s announcement of new Covid-19 cases in Auckland, New Zealand’s Alert Levels changed from 12 noon today (Wednesday 12 August).  Auckland Region (Pukekohe to Wellsford) has moved to Alert Level 3, while the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2.

While this might cause some of us to feel anxious, we need to remember as a country, and as a company, we have planned and prepared for this and by looking after each other, we can get through this just as we did before.

The advice we are providing for you is in line with Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines to help protect our support workers, staff, and the people we support.

Alert levels

Alert Level 2 – At Alert Levels 2 and above the risk of Covid-19 being present in the community is higher and wearing a mask becomes more important.  As we have moved to Alert Level 2, you should wear masks in situations where physical distancing is not possible, like on public transport or in shops.

Alert Level 3 – At Alert Level 3, masks may become compulsory when physical distancing is not possible.

Your Alert Level will depend on where you are in New Zealand.

  • Auckland region has moved to Alert Level 3 for at least 3 days to restrict the possible community transmission. This will be done through risk assessment, testing, and contract tracing.
  • The rest of New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2 which means that the virus is currently contained in these areas, but the risk of community transmission remains.

Supporting you at home

We are continuing to ensure our support workers and clinical teams understand the requirement for extra precautions when providing your support, this is delivered in a safe manner and follows MoH guidelines.

For those in Auckland under Alert Level 3:

  • It will be business as usual with regards to the services we provide, other than NZCare facility-based respite and disability community support where the service is deemed is not to be essential. We will continue to update you.
  • We will contact our staff who are over 70 years old or immunocompromised and to ensure their health and safety and make alternative arrangements if required.
  • We need to keep our bubbles small.  To that point, we will limit roster changes whenever possible.  Everyone needs to stay within their immediate household bubble and can only be expanded to include close family/whanau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive to help protect your

For those in New Zealand outside of Auckland under Alert Level 2:

  • It will be business as usual with regards to the services we provide, but if there are any changes to this, rest assured that we will be in touch.
  • You can continue to go to work while practising physical distancing.
  • While shops and businesses remain open, and you continue to keep with your expanded bubble including friends and family, you need to ‘play it safe’ and continue to be incredibly careful to minimise any risk.
  • We recommend keeping your bubble small and limit gatherings.
  • The Government indicated that under Level 2, those who are over 70 years old or immunocompromised are able to work, however we will need to undertake a risk assessment for our staff in this group to ascertain if it is safe to continue to work.

Safety Precautions and Procedures

  • Please continue to follow Government guidelines and continue practising your safety precautions at all times.
  • Our staff member supporting you is required to refer to the risk assessment questions every time they arrive for shifts; and they will continue to use PPE following the Ministry of Health guidelines.
  • The Covid-19 Tracing App is available to keep a record of all the places you have been to assist in contact tracing if required.  You can still use the manual function on the app or simply scan the QR codes wherever they are available at premises. Please click on this  link to download the app.
  • If you are not able to use the Covid-19 Tracing App, you can use a notebook to keep will do as long as you maintain a record of the places you have visited and the people you have been in close contact with.
  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres where possible especially when you are out in the community.
  • It The Government has recommended that you wear a mask when you are out in public.  You can also find more information on this link.
  • We recommend that you keep your bubble small.
  • People at high risk of severe illness such as older people and those with existing medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home where possible and take additional precautions when leaving home.

Keeping safe and well

It is also important that everyone is practising good hygiene measures as they are the most important ways to stop the spread of infections, including COVID-19.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or your elbow
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and dry them thoroughly:
    • before eating or handling food,
    • after using the toilet,
    • after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping noses.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell with cold or flu
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at your home and objects, such as doorknobs. The normal cleaning protocols are enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Should my support team wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Our staff will use PPE following the Ministry of Health guidelines in relation to the use of PPE and continue to observe standard precautions, such as handwashing.

We have supply of PPE at our offices including masks, gloves and aprons that will be provided to our staff who require it.  We are also working with the Ministry of Health and DHBs to ensure that we maintain sufficient supplies of PPE as protecting the health and wellbeing of our staff and clients is our number one priority.

What services are we going to continue to provide?

HealthCare NZ will continue to provide the people we support with the services they receive unless changes are required and have been deemed necessary as assessed by our Clinical Team.  We will always work closely with you should any changes to your support be required.

As part of HealthCare NZ’s agreement with Veteran Affairs New Zealand, all services will be cancelled for our VANZ clients in the Auckland region until the end of next week. We will be contacting clients in the rest of the country, to discuss their care arrangements with them and to see if they still want to receive our services. The situation with Covid-19, and the national response, is changing and we will reassess the situation and advice our clients accordingly.

As this situation evolves, Government health organisations are working together to monitor the situation closely and respond accordingly. Information is available on the Ministry of Health website or you can visit the Government Covid-19 website at https://covid19.govt.nz/

Escalation Process

So that we can make the necessary arrangements to ensure your and your support worker’s health and safety, you need to advise us immediately if:

  • You or some members of your household have concerns relating to Covid-19 or are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 (please stay at home, contact Healthline or your GP about getting the free test for the virus and advise us immediately).
  • You have been in close contact with a person who has been tested for Covid-19 or if you have been tested for Covid-19.
  • You have any concerns about your or your support worker’s wellbeing.

As always, our focus is providing the necessary service to you to the best of our ability while keeping our people safe.

You can email hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz if you have any concerns or urgent queries as the phones in New Zealand tend to become overloaded given this unprecedented situation that we are all facing. We will keep you updated as our response continues, and information is available at www.healthcarenz.co.nz

As always, our focus is providing the necessary service to you to the best of our ability while keeping our people safe.

You can email hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz if you have any concerns or urgent queries as the phones in New Zealand tend to become overloaded given this unprecedented situation that we are all facing. We will keep you updated as our response continues, and information is available at www.healthcarenz.co.nz

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