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Waikato DHB COVID-19 Level 3 Media Advisory - 1 September

Auckland and Northland are at Alert Level 4. The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 3.

Please find below an update from Waikato DHB on our Alert Level 3 response. Changes since our last media advisory on Tuesday 31 August 2021 are provided in red.

COVID-19 Testing Centres

The availability of Community Testing Centres is based on our assessment of demand and may change on a daily basis. Locations and opening hours for community testing are on our website, Healthpoint and our Facebook page.

Testing in Coromandel

· Coromandel Family Health Clinic

· Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki – Coromandel

Testing in Hamilton

· Hamilton Community Testing Centre, Founders Theatre car park

Testing in Tokoroa

· Tokoroa Family Health

· Tokoroa Medical Centre

Other general practices testing for COVID-19 in the Waikato

Other general practices are testing patients. Go to Healthpoint for a full list of GPs offering COVID-19 testing or call your GP to check.

COVID-19 tests are free.

Update on COVID-19 testing in the Waikato DHB region

On Tuesday 31 August 167 COVID-19 tests were taken at the Founders testing centre in Hamilton.

Across the broader Waikato DHB region, 916 tests were processed on Tuesday 31 August by the Waikato DHB lab.

If you have cold or flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your risk of COVID-19, please ring Healthline (0800 358 5453). They will tell you if you need to be tested and what to do next.

· It is free to get a COVID-19 test

· GPs are able to provide assessment and testing – please phone your practice first

· Please do not turn up to your GP without an appointment

· After hours, you can be seen at an urgent care clinic

· We recommend you take your NHI number with you, which can speed up the timeframe to receive your test results.

Update on COVID-19 vaccinations in the Waikato DHB region

On Tuesday 31 August, 8,139 vaccinations were delivered across the region.

As of 9am on 1 September 2021, 284,026 vaccinations have been delivered in the Waikato.

Everyone over 12 years old can now book their vaccination appointments at bookmyvaccine.nz or by calling 0800 28 29 26.

A reminder that all COVID-19 vaccinations centres in the Waikato are operating under Alert Level 3 conditions today. You must wear a face covering and social distancing will be in place.

We are vaccinating by appointment only. We ask everyone to double check their appointment notifications for full details to ensure they turn up at the correct vaccination centre, on time.

COVID-19 vaccinations - changes since operating under Alert Levels 3 and 4

On behalf of our health workforce, we thank everyone for their patience and kindness during this busy, challenging time.

COVID-19 vaccination centres in the Waikato have been working hard to cater for the increased demand in people wanting to get vaccinated while in Alert Level 4, and as we move to Alert Level 3.

Operating in Alert Level 3 or 4 conditions means that all of our vaccination sites have had to reduce capacity to allow for infection control measures like physical distancing.

This has meant we have had to send out messages or phone some people to postpone their appointments and get them to rebook for their COVID-19 vaccination. We know that this is very disappointing for some, but people are still able to re-book at another time and even another place if that suits them.

We have also had to postpone some bookings to cater for our priority groups in Alert Level 4, and also as we move to Alert Level 3, including the new list of essential workers e.g. people who work in supermarkets or petrol stations. It is important that they get vaccinated as soon as possible because they are the people working out in the community under Alert Level 3 and 4.

We remind everyone that if you have a vaccination booked, please go as planned unless you have been contacted and informed otherwise.

We are reviewing the demand at our current vaccination sites and are planning to increase our days of operation in areas where there is need as soon as we are able to.

Although vaccination sites have had to reduce appointments for Alert Level 4, there has been an increase in the number of places where people can choose to get vaccinated, including GPs, pharmacies and other providers. We have over 70 vaccination sites operating across the Waikato at varying times at present.

A big thanks to Waikato whānau for taking the time to get vaccinated and making our communities safer. We appreciate this is a challenging time for many people. We thank you for being kind to our essential and health workers.

Our immunity against COVID-19 is incredibly important and getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you, your whānau and your community. Everyone in New Zealand who is eligible will be able to be vaccinated.

Changes to Waikato DHB services

Alert Level 3 protocols will remain in place for Waikato DHB’s hospitals and services until further notice. Changes to our Waikato DHB services at Alert Level 3 are provided below.

· At Alert Level 3 it is still necessary for us to defer some non-urgent procedures until further notice. Outpatient clinics will move to telehealth/phone contact wherever possible. We are contacting all affected individuals directly. Plans will be made to rebook all affected individuals when it is safe to do so. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the clinics to discuss.

· Renal patients - dialysis appointments will continue to go ahead for renal patients. Please attend your dialysis appointment as you normally would, and wear a face covering or mask.

· Cancer patients - Those patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy will continue to do so as planned at Alert Level 3. Please come to your scheduled appointments, and wear a face covering or mask.

· Our Emergency Department remains open. However, please do ensure this is used for emergencies only. Patients can have one support person with them in the Emergency Department at Alert Level 3. Exceptions are outlined below.

· Maternity patients - All of our maternity services are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you need urgent maternity care in Women’s Assessment Unit or Delivery Suite or you have an appointment at Antenatal Clinic please attend. Monitoring and caring for the health of you and your baby is important at this time. We have put in place processes to keep you safe during Alert Level 3. More information is available on our website.

· Urgent (life-threatening) Acute surgery - All urgent/acute and emergency surgeries and procedures will continue.

· Meals on Wheels - Meals on Wheels will continue to be distributed, however there may be some delays due to driver availability. Meal delivery will be ‘contactless’ with drivers wearing PPE and following strict hand hygiene protocols.

· GP Appointments - If you have an appointment during Alert Level 3, please call your General Practice team for advice on whether your consultation can be done over the phone, by video or in person. All General Practices are open.

· Mortuary viewings - up to 10 family / whānau from the same bubble can attend the mortuary for viewing of deceased / tūpāpaku. Viewings should be made by appointment only. Contact General Enquiries on 07 839 8899. Use of the whānau room is not available during Alert Level 3.

· Pharmacy - Community Pharmacies are essential health services and will be open for prescriptions and over the counter medications. Please do not visit if you are sick. Always wear a mask or covering and practice physical distancing.

· Radiology - We continue to provide radiology services to clinically urgent and time sensitive patients. All other radiology appointments at Waikato DHB facilities - other than those needing acute care - have been postponed and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

· Hospital cafes - The safe care and protection of our staff and our Waikato community remains a priority for Waikato DHB under COVID-19 Alert Level 3. Under Alert Level 3 there is no change to our visitor policy, and while our hospital cafés can remain open for staff, at this stage our cafés cannot cater for members of the public who are visiting or supporting inpatient whānau, or attending outpatient appointments. We apologise to the people visiting our hospitals for any inconvenience and recommend they plan to bring their own food and beverages with them should they feel they would like refreshments during their visit. For our hospital patients, we continue to serve the usual three meals daily and we are happy to also provide further refreshments on request. We are also continuing to provide food for the parent/caregiver of children in our inpatient wards and NICU.

· Anyone needing immediate or urgent help should seek medical care by calling 111 for an ambulance or going to their nearest hospital emergency department.

· We thank the community for their understanding and cooperation at this time. As always, our priority is the safety and care of our patients, whānau and staff.

Visitors to our hospitals at Alert Level 3

· To keep patients, whānau and staff safe, members of the public will be unable to visit patients in our hospitals, clinics, or other community facilities. We know how important the support of whānau and friends is to our patients, so this was a difficult decision to make.

· Only support people or caregivers are able to visit inpatients.

o One support person for patients presenting to the Emergency Department

o One caregiver for child health services

o One support person for birthing facilities

o No children are permitted on the wards

In some cases, exceptions to this policy will be made on essential and compassionate grounds– for example, a parent or guardian who is supporting a child.

o Any exceptions will be at the discretion of the charge nurse manager and will require prior agreement. (by phoning the ward)

o The visitor will undergo screening before they enter to ensure they are well, have clean hands, and are using appropriate personal protective equipment

· Please note there are changes to our café services at Alert Level 3, which are outlined above under changes to services.

· We encourage patients and families to use technology where available to maintain contact in these difficult times.

Places of interest

Everybody should keep an eye on locations of interest on the Ministry of Health website which is constantly updated. Please pay particular attention to the window of time when the confirmed cases visited a location.

© Scoop Media

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