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SDHB COVID-19 Daily Media Update 14 April: One New Case In The Southern Region

New cases in Southern

The Ministry of Health announced one new COVID-19 case in the Southern region today, bringing the region’s total to 210. Confirmed and probable cases are combined for this and future totals, to match Ministry case reporting.

109 people in our district are now classified as recovered

For a breakdown by Territorial Authority please visit the Southern Health website https://www.southernhealth.nz/sdhdCOVID19/cases-updates

Support for aged residential care facilities

Aged residential care staff are doing a wonderful job reassuring and looking after the approximately 3,000 Southern residents in their care. Southern DHB is committed to supporting staff, residents and their families through this stressful time.

There are 65 aged residential care facilities in our region. They operate under a variety of ownership models (from corporate chains to individually owned and managed) with different levels of clinical governance.

Southern DHB works closely with all facilities as part of normal operations but has significantly increased support and communications in recent months.

A series of roadshows in March were used to engage specifically on preparedness for COVID-19 and the 65 facilities divided into six locality groups to support each other. Bi-weekly online meetings are held with all locality groups to provide up-to-date advice from the Ministry of Health and the Health Quality & Safety Commission. More site visits are planned for this week and next, some will be face to face while many will be by video conferencing..

The latest Director General of Health request for the readiness status of each facility was not unexpected and will be built into current checks and reporting. A self-audit tool will be sent to every facility soon and we expect the results to reflect the high standard of care and preparedness we have observed to date. Over half of our facilities have four year certification from the Ministry of Health, indicating that currently meet all standards and requirements and are engaged in significant continuous quality improvement.

Facilities were given a PPE update in mid-March that included an ordering process and information about correct use and disposal.

New call centre, 0800 number streamlines assessment and referrals for possible COVID-19 testing

A new centralised call service and free phone number – 0800 VIRUS19 (0800 847 8719) – is helping streamline assessment and possible testing for COVID-19 in the Southern region.

The new service based at WellSouth’s Dunedin office began receiving calls on Thursday and is making it easier for patients to inquire about and to access COVID-19 testing. The new service also helps ensure that patients who don’t need testing, will not have to ‘leave their bubble’ unnecessarily.

Six phone lines are staffed by clinicians who assess and triage patients and refer, where appropriate, for testing. Patients can go on to be tested at a Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC), their own general practice or a designated practice, whichever is most appropriate and convenient.

Testing for COVID-19 is being conducted by most general practices, at three CBACs in the Southern region – in Dunedin, Queenstown and Invercargill. There are also six Designated Practices where people who don’t have a GP, or who don’t know who their doctor is, can be referred for testing. These are: Fiordland Medical Centre, He Puna Waiora Wellness Centre, Kurow Medical, Mosgiel Health Centre, Te Kāika, and Wanaka/Aspiring medical centres.

Who should get tested?

COVID-19 Case Definition Criteria: (As of 14 April)

Any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, coryza[1], anosmia[2] with or without fever.

[1] Coryza – head cold e.g. runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip

[2] Anosmia – loss of sense of smell

Some people may not meet the suspect case definition but may present with symptoms such as only: fever, diarrhoea, headache, myalgia, nausea/vomiting, or confusion/irritability. If there is not another likely diagnosis, and they have a link to a recent traveller, a confirmed, or probable case, consider testing.

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-resources-health-professionals/case-definition-covid-19-infection

Please note the COVID-19 case definition and testing protocols are constantly evolving.

These criteria may change. Updates will be documented at the direction of public health officials. Subject to change according to the direction of the Medical Officer of Health

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