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Earthquake Update 35 – Canterbury District Health Board

Friday – April 15, 2011 – 5.15pm

Earthquake Update 35 – Canterbury District Health Board

Government agencies are working to keep Canterbury people healthy and safe through winter following the September and February earthquakes.

The Interim Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), John Ombler, says agencies are working together to help people prepare for the additional challenges of winter.

"We know the colder months can be challenging at the best of times, and for many people this winter will be much tougher and more testing with the damage so many homes have suffered," Mr Ombler says.

"A critical focus for us is people staying safe and well through winter, particularly those who are already vulnerable, such as the elderly or infirm and young children."

Mr Ombler says a lot of work has already gone into restoring heating to homes that lost their primary source and making homes weather tight.

* Fletcher EQR, contracted by the Earthquake Commission, expects the 4,500 priority winter heating repairs initially estimated to be needed in Christchurch will be completed by mid May, and is actively seeking to identify further households where such repairs are needed.

* The Clean Heat Hub established earlier this year has made 25,000 calls to identify priority cases, based on data from a variety of sources. About 4,000 heating units have been ordered, installed or repaired to date, including heat pumps and different varieties of solid fuel burner. Orders are being placed at up to 1,000 per week.

"If you are still without your main form of heating or your house isn't weather tight, then contact 0800DAMAGE or email heating@eqr.co.nz."

Mr Ombler says people should also strongly consider getting a flu vaccination and remember that if they do feel unwell to see their GP early. Vaccinations are free to Canterbury residents aged under 18 years. It is also free to those aged over 65 years, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

A factsheet with some practical tips and information to help people through the winter months and letting them know what help is available is being distributed in communities and can also be found at www.cera.govt.nz.

Key messages to stay healthy
• To help stay well this winter, have a flu vaccination. Anyone can have one but they are free for pregnant women, anyone who has a long term illness, people aged over 65 years and anyone younger than 18 years. See your GP for your vaccination or check whether your employer is providing them free to staff.
• If you or a family member is sick, visit your GP early for advice.
• To help stay warm, eat warm food, have hot drinks and dress yourself and any children in your family in layers of warm clothing, even when you are at home.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from your family or neighbours. Keep an eye out for each other, especially if there are vulnerable people in your neighbourhood such as those who are elderly or unwell.
• If your home or heating has been earthquake damaged, your first priority will be to stay warm and healthy. Environment Canterbury will not take action if the earthquake means you are not able to meet the clean air rules. This recognises that you may need to use whatever safe means you have available including an open fire or non-compliant wood burner. We advise you to check that any heating is safe to use and we welcome calls if you are concerned about your individual circumstances.
Phone Environment Canterbury customer services 0800324636

TRANSPORT AND PARKING AT CHRISTCHURCH HOSPITAL

Parking & Shuttle Update
The CDHB and the Christchurch City Council Transport & Greenspace Team have been working to try and find a solution to longer term parking for CDHB staff and patients. Despite a number of options being discussed we are still dealing with a loss of more than 800 parking spaces and trying to find alternative sites is proving difficult.
The best solution continues to be parking behind the Horticultural Centre and the CDHB has provided minibuses to escort patients from this area during the day and for staff at night; security have access to these minibuses 24/7.
Staff are asked to walk whenever possible because patients and visitors that may find the walk to the hospital difficult will be given preference for the shuttle. The shuttle picks ups and drops off at the main hospital entrance.
The parking area behind the horticultural centre area is well lit and an area has been designated for staff working afternoon shifts to ensure they are within view of the security team when they return to their vehicles. There is also security available to escort people to and from the parking area. A white gazebo is located to the side of the parking area and staff, patients and visitors should wait here for escorts or the shuttle bus.
Armagh St Gardens:

The car park has opened today and no time restrictions are in place. Access is from Rolleston Ave at the Armagh St bridge. Staff and patients can use this sealed parking area and access the hospital via the Botanical Gardens. There is no security in place, so recommend this area for day shift parking.

Staff and patient shuttles from Hillmorton and Burwood
Shuttles are continuing to operate from Hillmorton Hospital hours have been extended to try and accommodate some more shifts. Drop off and pick up is from the lower ground floor entrance of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.The first shuttle will now leave Hillmorton at 0715 and they will continue to run throughout the day at the following times:

Hillmorton departure on the hour from 7.15am to 4.15pm and on the hour from Christchurch Hospital from 7.45pm to 4.45pm and again at 5.15pm.

The Burwood Shuttle will continue up to the 5.15pm Christchurch Departure on Thursday April 21, 2011 but this will be reviewed next week as to whether it will continue after Easter. Burwood departures leave from beside Beacon House at entrance B2 leave at 6.15am, 8.00am, 2.00pm, 4.00pm and 10.00pm. Christchurch departures leave from the traffic lights on Oxford Terrace below the emergency department at 7.15am, 3.30pm, 5.00pm and 11.15pm.

The Princess Margaret Hospital – Christchurch Hosptial Shuttle

Is running as per usual


Alternative Transport Options:
A great number of staff have also reverted to cycling to work and using the buses, we have been looking for more places to locate bike racks and actively encourage those that can to consider an alternative way of getting to work.
Parking on Verges and Yellow Lines:
Since the February 22 earthquake, the council have been lenient about staff, patients or visitors to Christchurch Hospital using the park verges and yellow lines outside the hospital for parking but ask people to stop parking in these areas.
Council has indicated it will tow cars that are interrupting traffic flow, cycle ways or pedestrian access to an alternative nearby area. There are no fines for towing but it is an inconvenience to have to find your vehicle , which may have been relocated back to the Horticultural centre or other safe parking are.
The DHB is continuing to review parking with the City Council and will update staff and patients as we get further information.
AGED CARE RESIDENTS

Letters are to be sent to residents and families about the relocations of some vulnerable people from evacuated Christchurch rest homes following the quake. While most people were happy that their loved one was moved to somewhere safe, for many people it has been an unsettling and upsetting time.
The DHB is reviewing the on-going demand for aged residential care in Canterbury and guidelines are in place to determine how people can return to Christchurch.
However, because there are significantly fewer beds available, the DHB is unable to transfer everyone who was relocated out of the region back to Christchurch.
Assistance is available to help families keep in touch with their relocated family members.
At the time of the quake some families opted to take their relative home to live with them and DHB will continue to work with these families to provide additional care and support to enable this situation to continue longer term.
BOIL WATER NOTICE LIFTED

The Canterbury District Health Board has not seen an increase in gastroenteritis cases since the boiled water notice was lifted.

Gastroenteritis can be passed on in a number of different ways - such as from contaminated food or surfaces, or from person to person contact. People should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser often, particularly after toileting, and before and after eating or preparing food.

People who believe they are ill should contact their GP.

Water ways will continue to be tested but does not included private wells and bores, so people are advised to organise on-going private testing should they wish to drink water from private locations.

Residents should contact the Council if their reticulated water supply is not working on 941 8999.

People should still try to conserve water because Christchurch’s water supply and waste water infrastructure remains delicate.

Additional steps for people returning to their homes or businesses
Residents returning to their properties for the first time since the boil water notice has been lifted, and new tenants or property owners, should turn on all the taps on their property and let them run for a minimum of five minutes. If after five minutes the water is still discoloured they should continue to run it until it is clear.

Business owners or managers returning to their premises should also run taps for five minutes. Business owners are also advised to organise a registered plumber to check their water systems prior to switching water on at the street. Leaks in the water pipe work on their site or in their building could cause further damage to the property.

Chlorination of Christchurch water supply
Water chlorination continues across the city. Chlorination will help ensure that the water remains safe while the water supply infrastructure remains vulnerable and susceptible to new damage.

It is expected that the water supply will continue to be chlorinated for between three and six months while permanent infrastructure repairs take place. The Council will continue a programme of increased sampling to ensure that water remains safe to drink.

If people don’t like the taste of chlorine then they should fill a jug with water and store it in the fridge for 30 minutes before drinking. This will lessen the taste/odour.

INFLUENZA IMMUNISATION

It is particularly important to be vaccinated this year because damage from the September 4 and February 22 earthquakes has changed a lot of Cantabrians living conditions that will make many more vulnerable to catching the flu.
Immunisation is now free for Canterbury residents under 18 years. The vaccine is also free to people aged over 65-years-old, those under 65 years with a chronic health condition such as diabetes and asthma, as well as pregnant women and is available until July 31.
Call your General Practice Team for an appointment.
DEMOLITION OF HAGLEY HOSTEL - APPROVED
The building sustained damage in both the September and February earthquakes and is at risk of collapse. It is hoped demolition will start in the next two weeks.
At this stage we are not sure how long the demolition process will take.

CANTERBURY DHB BUILDINGS

All hospital buildings have been checked by independent structural engineers. Other than those closed off or with restricted entry, the buildings have been assessed as safe to occupy - ‘Green stickers’ are being placed on these buildings.
BLOOD TESTS
Canterbury Health Laboratories will be open over the weekend from 8am to 11am on Saturday at their Hagley Ave, Tuam Street building, across the road from Christchurch Hospital. There is parking on site and any blood test forms will be accepted.
For more details of where you can go to have a blood test or other tests, check www.bloodtest.co.nz


SHORT SHOWERS SHOW YOU CARE – TAKE CARE WITH WATER USE

Where you have water available at home, regardless of what part of Christchurch you live in, please use it sparingly as sewerage systems are broken and not able to cope with large volumes of waste water.

This applies when showering - remember that short showers show you care - and when flushing the toilet, ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down’.

Don’t waste water washing the car!


IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGES
• In parts of the city, sewerage pipes have broken or are breaking as services come back online. People should avoid sewage and silt that may have been contaminated with sewage, even if it is on their properties. If you need sewage removed from your property call Christchurch City Council on 941 8999. If people have to work with silt they should wear water-proof gloves, gumboots and a dust mask. People should also shower or wash thoroughly immediately after contact with either sewage or silt, and wash clothes separately.
• Waterways are contaminated with sewage. Avoid contact with rivers, sea water, ponds, puddles or other surface water. Do not swim, paddle, fish, or gather shellfish or any other food from oceans and rivers.
• Take care when disposing of human waste (faeces, poo, vomit etc). If your sewerage system has not been working and you have access to a portable or chemical toilet, please continue to use this until advised otherwise. If you need a chemical toilet call 941 8999. Solid waste that is tightly wrapped in plastic can go into you red bin, but only as a last resort. Wash your hands immediately after dealing with any human waste.
• Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser often, particularly after toileting, and before and after eating or preparing food.
• If you are sick, try to limit contact with other people, do not go to work and do not prepare food for anyone.

GENERAL PRACTICES AND PHARMACIES
• Most general practice teams and pharmacies in Canterbury are now open. If you need to see a doctor, phone your own GP first and you will be put through to someone who can help.
• GP and prescription fees have returned to their usual rates. If the cost of visiting your GP is a problem, talk to your doctor as you may be eligible for special subsidised fees.
• Call your own GP first. It is important you address your health concerns early with your general practice team.
• Ideally you will be able to visit your usual general practice team. If this is not possible, you should consult a nearby general practice team. You will pay similar fees to those charged to regular patients at that practice.
• If it’s an emergency call 111.

Pharmacies
• If you want to collect several medicines at once it’s helpful if you can drop your prescription off and give the pharmacy a day to get them ready for you.
• Even if you think your pharmacy is closed, please ring the usual pharmacy telephone number. Your call will either be redirected or the recorded message will tell you where you can collect your medicines from.

ELECTIVE SERVICES – SURGERY & OUTPATIENTS

Outpatient clinic activity is steadily increasing; however there is a higher-than usual level of people unable to make their appointments. Additional phone reminders are taking place to ensure people remember their appointments. Please advise the hospital early if you are unable to get to an appointment.
Levels of surgery are starting to return to usual levels, although there is an emphasis on carrying out more of the less complex cases as we get back up to speed.
Acute Surgery, some urgent major surgery and simple elective surgery is now occurring at Christchurch Hospital.
Acceptance of referrals from other DHBs and returns of patients transferred out for major elective surgery remains on a case by case basis as capacity and acuity allows.
The ongoing transfer of some urgent surgical patients to other DHBs is reducing but arrangements will need to continue dependent on acute demand.

SUPPORT AND COUNSELLING SERVICES

These have been extremely difficult times for all of us. Each of us may be affected in a different way. Common experiences include: poor sleep, irritability, nervousness, unpleasant dreams, loss of energy, feeling tired and a multitude of emotions such as anger, guilt or sadness.

In young children symptoms can include bedwetting, being “clingy” to a parent and displaying disruptive and disturbing behaviour. These are all normal and understandable responses. They will generally lessen over time. Support from friends and family helps with recovery.

If you are concerned about yourself or a family member or a friend, you encouraged to call: Special Helpline 0800 777 846. This service may offer immediate advice and support or may connect you with another helping agency.

Recovery Assistance Centres
Recovery Assistance Centres are one-stop-shops where people can access welfare information and services. They bring together central, local government and non government organisations.
These sites are open:
Nga Hau e Wha Marae
Linwood Community Link
Wainoni Aranui Recreation Centre
Parklands Baptist Church
St Faiths Hall
Delta Community Support Trust
Sydenham Community Centre
Lyttleton Recreation Centre
Weekdays: 9.00am to 4.00pm
Saturday: 9.00 am to 12.00pm (noon)
Sunday: Closed

Recovery Information Kiosks
Recovery Information Kiosks have opened throughout Christchurch. The kiosks are places within communities, where people can get information on the help available.

The kiosks are unmanned and are located at:
• Waipuna - 349 Woodham Road
• Delta - 105 North Avon Road
• Aranui Heartlands and Pacific Hub - 37 - 45 Hampshire Street
• Shirley Early Years Hub - 69B Briggs Road
• Kingdom Resources - Shop F, 300 Lincoln Road (Addingtown Mall)
• Akaroa Heartland Service Centre - 39 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa
• Solo Women As Parents (SWAP) - 70 Springfield Road

For more information go to http://www.msd.govtnz/emergency/recovery-assistance-centres.html#DeltaCommunitySupportTrust7

Helplines
ACC – People wanting to know what their entitlements are 0800 101 996
Red Cross – 0800 733 276. People who have relocated outside of Christchurch are urged to contact the Red Cross.
Urgent mental health advice – Psychiatric Emergency Service on 03 3640 482 or 0800 920 092
Urgent Dental Care – If you can’t contact your own dentist 335 4260. After hours 027 683 0679
Meals on wheels – 337 7797
Plunket Line continues to operate 24hours 7days, free calling, including from cell phones - 0800 933 922
Vulnerable older people – that urgently require assistance because of health or disability needs should contact Older Persons Health on 337 7765 for assessment and advice.
Dialysis – helpline 0800 881919
Ambulance – 111
24-hour medical centre in Bealey Avenue – 365 7777
Coping strategies - stress and anxiety – The Ministry of Health has created a series of fact sheets with advice and coping strategies for people experiencing stress or anxiety in the wake of this week's tragedy. These can be found on the Ministry's website - www.moh.govt.nz - under the banner headline ‘Christchurch Earthquake’
Other useful websites include – www.canterburyearthquake.org.nz www.civildefence.co.nz; Healthinfo.orgnz
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ENDS

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