Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

SDHB Daily Media Update - Thursday 16 April 2020

No new cases in Southern

The Ministry of Health has announced no new COVID-19 cases in the Southern district today, meaning the region’s total remains 213. Confirmed and probable cases are combined for this and future totals, to match Ministry case reporting.

For a breakdown by Territorial Authority please visit the Southern Health website https://www.southernhealth.nz/sdhbCOVID19/cases-updates

130 people in our district are now classified as recovered.

Southern testing update

We have received a number of media inquiries around testing.

Southern DHB has been testing widely for several weeks, and has among the highest rates of testing in New Zealand.

From 13 March to 15 April in Southern we have:

· Performed 5326 tests

· Tested 5018 individuals (some individuals have both a swab and a sputum taken at the same time, and some patients have been tested on multiple occasions).

At the same time, we also have the highest rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita in New Zealand. About one third of these have been related to two significant clusters in our community. The other main source of cases was overseas travel. Now, most of our cases are from the infection spreading from individuals to close contacts, increasingly those with whom they are sharing their bubbles.

While these cases are easily identified through our contact tracing and case management processes, we want to check that there has not been more widespread community transmission that has not yet reached our attention.

Our first step is to reinforce the direction of the Director General to practise a very low threshold for testing of symptomatic patients. We widened our case definition in our local area earlier than the nationwide position as we responded to the possibility of community transmission following the World Hereford Conference.

Our PHO WellSouth is also working with general practices to encourage additional testing, and support referrals to Community Based Assessment Centres where appropriate.

General Practices and CBACs are doing about 50/50 in terms of testing, which highlights the contribution that General Practices are making. Designated practices have also been established in areas where a CBAC isn’t feasible, and they ensure that everyone has access to assessment and testing, as they take both enrolled and unenrolled patients.

A call centre has also been established to coordinate assessment and referrals for testing across the district, so we can target resources to test as many patients as possible by giving them options that suit their individual circumstances.

We are also undertaking random testing of asymptomatic individuals in community locations, and today have been testing at a supermarket in Queenstown. This is an important additional step to gain further information about the possible presence of COVID-19 in the community, and may help understand the potential impact of relaxing the restrictions we are currently experiencing as a community as we seek to stamp out the disease.

Collectively, these efforts will help us understand how effective Alert level 4 has been in restricting the transmission of the disease, and how we can support the next steps that are needed in our district, and as part of our national response to addressing COVID-19.

*Comments attributable to Dr Susan Jack, Medical Officer of Health, Southern

Queenstown pop up testing

We have received media inquiries about pop up testing that was conducted today in Queenstown.

The testing was not promoted or announced to the media in advance because the aim was to get a broadly representative sample of people living in Queenstown including some essential workers, and alerting people ahead of time may have impacted on this.

The message from the Director General has been to increase testing across the community, and this random testing is one of a range of activities we are undertaking. Its purpose is to help establish if COVID-19 is present, but undetected, within the community.

This will help us understand the potential impact of relaxing restrictions.

The focus is on people without any symptoms. Anyone who has symptoms and thinks they should be tested for COVID-19 should contact their GP or Healthline.

For statistical reasons it is important this community testing is random, so we are not encouraging people to come down (and would appreciate the media refraining from doing the same).

We expect this will just run today.

It is being coordinated and staffed by WellSouth PHO, who have also been coordinating the Community Based Assessment Centres, and these are being run with the same safety precautions as those centres.

*Comments attributable to Dr Susan Jack, Medical Officer of Health, Southern

Meals on Wheels

We have received a media inquiry about whether COVID-19 has led to an increase in demand for Meals on Wheels.

Southern DHB has not experienced an increase in demand for Meals on Wheels since during the COVID-19 response.

Since going into lockdown on 19 March, we have received 34 referrals to Meals on Wheels for the Southland, Queenstown and Dunedin services. This is fewer than we would normally process over this time period.

BACKGROUND

Meals on Wheels is the name of a service, overseen by New Zealand’s DHBs, which must meet service specifications set by the Ministry of Health.

However, it is not the only service to provide meals delivered to the door for people in the community. Meals on wheels has come to mean something much wider than a service provided by the DHB. There is a vibrant private provider market, which delivers meals to people’s homes for a wide variety of reasons, not just health issues.

People have a choice. If they are eligible for DHB funded Meals on Wheels, they don’t have to use the service in their area. They can choose to use a private meal service provider, and we are aware many people do make this choice.

People who may not be eligible for DHB funded Meals on Wheels may also choose to source meals from a private provider. It is a private arrangement that is not under the jurisdiction of the Southern DHB.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels providers are required to meet the Ministry of Health’s Specifications for Meals on Wheels.

It is largely a service designed to assist people who have personal health needs. This service is not free, as clients are required to make a co-payment towards it.

Clients wishing to access Meals on Wheels are assessed on several criteria including:

· Ability to shop for groceries

· Age

· Transport - independent/dependent

· Distance from support networks

· Ability to mobilise

· Cognitive state

· General life factors – e.g. social activities, level of family support other services e.g. District Nursing, personal care, extent of disability.

The pandemic has however led to one change around the Meals on Wheels Service, regarding our volunteer drivers. In Southern, and likely around the country, many of the volunteer delivery drivers for Meals on Wheels are older people, including the over 70s. The COVID-19 advice for the over 70s to stay at home has meant some changes. We have been incredibly fortunate to a large number of younger volunteers coming forward to continue this important and valued service.

We are extremely grateful to these volunteers and the organisations that co-ordinate them to support Meals on Wheels in Southern and keep it providing this essential service to people.

We would also like to acknowledge the significant contribution of the welfare response from Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management and Emergency Management Southland, which are linked to the local councils’ responses, and the work they are doing on meeting social needs in their communities.

* Comments attributable to Glenn Symon, General Manager Community Services SDHB.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Rivals For The Covid Saliva Testing Dollar

If you want a good insight into what the limits of tiny, barely discernible steps to reduce poverty actually look like, delve into the latest Statistics Department figures on poverty in New Zealand Most of the nine measures utilised reveal little or no progress in combatting poverty over the 21 months to March 2020... More>>


 


Government: Main Benefits To Increase In Line With Wages

All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>

ALSO:


RNZ: Alert Levels Remain

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative... More>>

ALSO:


NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

Travel: Government Eases Visa Restrictions For Visitors In New Zealand

Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration has announced. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels