COVID-19 Update: 14 August

As a result of the new confirmed Covid-19 cases that have emerged this week, the Government will announce any changes to the alerts levels across New Zealand this evening at 5.30pm.

However, our business has made a decision that we will operate under Alert Level 3 across the whole country irrespective of any changes to the alerts levels (under Alert Level 4) that are announced.

What does it mean for our staff and the people we support?

As a proactive measure to ensure that health and safety of our staff and the people we support, we are implementing the following measures:

Our Services

  • It will be business as usual with regards to all the services we provide anywhere in New Zealand. We will update you of any changes going forward.
  • For our disability residential homes, restrictions on visits will need to be put in place. Please keep a daily log of any visitors into your premises and/or use the QR tracker code as part of contract tracing.
  • We are temporarily halting Veterans Affairs support in Auckland until next week at this stage. Our branches are contacting VA clients outside of Auckland to discuss whether they wish to continue receiving support and make the necessary arrangements.

For Staff Over 70 Years Old Or Immunocompromised

  • We will contact staff who are over 70 years old or immunocompromised who might need to be stood down if it is deemed unsafe for them to work. We understand that the Essential Workers Leave Subsidy scheme is still operational, and this group of staff are eligible. On that basis, we will pay eligible staff for the rest of the week, claim the subsidy, and top up to 100 per cent of wages.

For office based and branch staff

  • Regardless of alert level, our office-based staff are required to work from home until further notice.
  • As with the previous lockdown, staff at our branches who are performing essential work will continue to work on-site.
  • If you are unable to work from home, please discuss this with your manager. For those wanting an exception i.e. to be allowed to work in the office for any reason, this must be approved by the Chief Executive via your manager.

QR tracker code and app

  • An individual QR (Quick Response) tracker code is being set-up at each of our offices and across our services to assist in providing valuable contact tracing information as part of the national response.
  • All staff are encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer App to their phones and scan each time you enter or leave the service and at other locations and businesses in the community. If you are unable to use the Tracer App, please use an alternative system e.g. manual sign-ins, keeping a record of your movements.

Our Service Call Centre

  • Frontline staff can still contact our Service Centre for support with any queries or concerns they have or escalate issues to their local Service Delivery Manager if required.
  • The Service Centre is operating. Staff in those centres are practising social distancing and everyone is being required to wear masks. If Service Centre staff have to work remotely, for example they are immune compromised, this will be arranged with their team leader.

For frontline staff and Support Workers

  • You can still go to work but please take all necessary safety procedures (see below).
  • Refer to the risk assessment questions when you arrive for shifts and appointments, and use your PPE following the Ministry of Health guidelines.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • We are working actively on PPE distribution for staff, especially those in front line roles.
  • While we have some stocks on hand, we have already ordered more from the Ministry of Health to meet further demand.
  • We are continuing to follow MoH guidelines on the use of PPE and will update our staff on any changes to the guidance.

Safety Precautions and Procedures

  • Basic hygiene measures must still be maintained i.e. frequent hand washing, regularly cleaning surfaces, cough etiquette.
  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres when you are out in the community.
  • Keep your personal bubbles small.
  • Stay home and self-isolate if you are unwell.
  • 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.

Escalation Process

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

  • You are unwell and therefore need to stay home – please stay away from others if you are unwell.
  • You or some members of your household have concerns relating to Covid-19, or are experiencing symptoms, (please stay at home and contact Healthline or your GP about getting tested).
  • 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 the wellbeing of the person you support.

As we move through the alert levels, we will continue to follow the advice and guidance from Government and Ministry of Health. We will update you on this as soon as possible with any changes or further information. You can also refer to the www.covid19.govt.nz website for the Government’s updates.

It is all our responsibility to keep safe from Covid-19 at any alert level. By following the Ministry of Health and Government guidelines, and doing what each of us can, we can prevent the spread of Covid-19.

If you have any concerns or queries, please talk to your manager or email us on hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz

He waka eke noa – we are all in this together.

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