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Waikato Is Ready For COVID-19

Waikato now has confirmed COVID-19 cases. All cases were contracted from overseas and contact tracing is currently underway. All patients are at home in self-isolation.

Further information is available about all current cases in New Zealand on the Ministry of Health’s website<https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-cases>.

Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Kevin Snee says preparation for COVID-19 has been well underway to make sure the necessary systems and support is in place across our hospital, primary care services and our local NGOs.

“We have GP practices which are assessing and swabbing for COVID-19 at designated medical centres. If you believe you are at risk and are wanting to be tested, first phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453. Healthline will provide guidance on whether testing is needed and will indicate whether people should contact their GP or go to a testing centre.

“Our GP practices have been undertaking the bulk of community assessment to date and we are very grateful for their work and commitment. The DHB will continue to work in partnership with our GPs to ensure our community needs are met.”

“We are now setting up Community Based Assessment Centres (CBAC) to assess possible cases, with the first to open on Saturday in Hamilton at the Claudelands Event Centre. From Sunday, Tokoroa Hospital will also act as a CBAC” said Dr Snee. More information about accessing the centres is available on our website<https://www.waikatodhbnewsroom.co.nz/2020/03/20/covid-19-community-based-assessment-centres/>.

“Other community based centres will be activated across the rural areas of Waikato in the coming week.

“The purpose of a CBAC is to initially assess possible cases, taking the load off general practice teams and emergency departments and reducing exposure risk for healthcare workers in other walk-in care locations.”

It is important to note that not everyone who presents at an assessment centre will automatically be swabbed for COVID-19. A medical professional will consult to ask a number of questions and take a temperature check before making a decision on whether a swab is required.

Waikato DHB is now doing its own lab testing for COVID-19.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be given advice on managing the virus, based on the symptoms they have. Those who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms will be advised to self-isolate and given information on danger signs and what to do if their condition worsens.

“We understand that this is a concerning time for all in the Waikato and we do want people to know that we are prepared and ready.” said Dr Snee.

“We will communicate with you as honestly as we can do with all the information you need. If there are problems we will tell you about them.

"There is an enormous amount of work going on. Unfortunately this means some of the normal services will be impacted. If you are waiting for a non-urgent operation, that may be delayed as we must dedicate resources to support our work on COVID-19.”

We're all in this together and everyone has a very important role to slow down the spread of the virus:

* Key to New Zealand's response is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell - not going to work or being out in public if you are sick, avoiding large gatherings
* Now is the time to be even more vigilant. Everyone can help by ensuring good health etiquette – washing hands for 20 seconds and drying them well, sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face
* Physical distancing is an important way to unite against COVD-19. Think about keeping a safe distance from others, try to avoid face-to-face contact with others closer than I metre away for more than 15 minutes. You can keep in touch with friends and whānau via the phone, or online.
* Healthline remains the first point of contact for people who are unwell and have symptoms of COVID-19. Call Healthline for advice or phone ahead to your GP prior to presenting
* If you have welfare concerns e.g. paying for bills, food because you are in isolation, call the Government helpline for COVID-19 0800 779 997 (9am – 5pm, 7-days a week)
* For Waikato COVID-19 information: https://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/your-health/covid-19-in-waikato/ OR where to visit a community-based assessment centre or GP testing centre: https://www.waikatodhbnewsroom.co.nz/2020/03/20/covid-19-community-based-assessment-centres/<https://www.waikatodhbnewsroom.co.nz/2020/03/20/covid-19-community-based-assessment-centres/>
* For the latest national information and helpful advice on COVID-19: https://covid19.govt.nz/
* https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus<https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus>

GPs currently providing assessment
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki Thames
210 Richmond Rd
Thames.
07 868 0033
0508 835 676
Opening hours
0830-1630 Monday to Sunday
Tui Medical Centre
26 Bryant Road, Te Rapa
Hamilton
0800 175 175 extn: 1 for COVID-19 line
Opening hours
0800 – 1630 Monday to Sunday

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