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Southern DHB Media Update - Tuesday 7 September 2021

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VACCINATION UPDATE* – Attributable Hamish Brown, Southern COVID-19 vaccine programme lead

To date, 308,457 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered across the district. This equates to 70.1% of the population aged over 12 having at least one vaccine, and 35.2% fully vaccinated.

The Southern COVID-19 programme ramped up significantly during Alert Levels 3 and 4, despite pausing and reconfiguring clinics to operate under Alert Level 4, and general practices responding to increased demand for COVID-19 testing. It took 145 days to deliver 100,000 doses, 32 days to deliver the next 100,000 doses and just 2 weeks to deliver the third 100,000 doses.

This is thanks to the hard work of our healthcare providers across the district and the enthusiastic response from the public, so thank you all for doing your bit to keep you and your community safe!

There are over 100 vaccine providers across the district. Under Alert Level 2, vaccinations will continue but the public are required to wear a mask, sign in, and practice physical distancing and good hand-hygiene. To find a vaccine centre near you, go to ww.southernhealth.nz/COVID19/clinics.

*Please note these vaccination figures are indicative only and reflect vaccination numbers up to 4pm daily. These figures are liable to change as vaccination centres continue to vaccinate people during the late afternoon/evening.

SOUTHERN HOSPITALS UNDER ALERT LEVEL 2 – attributable Dr Nigel Millar, Chief Medical Officer, Southern DHB

The Southern district, along with most of New Zealand apart from Auckland, will be moving to Delta Alert Level 2 from tonight, and is making some adjustments to keep patients, staff and visitors safe.

Non-urgent surgery and outpatient appointments gradually resuming

We continue to resume health services across the region, in order of clinical priority. This may mean managing appointments in a different way such as via online/telephone/non-contact methods.

Please be reassured that you will be contacted if there is a change to an outstanding appointment or surgery.

Screening patients and visitors

With the move to Alert Level 2, the requirement for all visitors to the hospitals to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms has been relaxed. However there are instances where people will continue to be screened either prior to or upon arrival at hospital.

Screening will still apply to all patients presenting to Southern Emergency Departments and the support person accompanying them.  This is because the limited space in Emergency Department waiting rooms means that people are in reasonably close proximity, although chairs have been spaced for purposes of physical distancing.

Outpatients and ambulatory elective patients will also be screened – mostly this will be undertaken prior to the patient arriving at the hospital.

Visitor restrictions have been modified to reflect the lower alert level, but are not yet back to Level 1 conditions.  Inpatients may receive one visitor at a time, with each visitor allowed to visit once each day.  Again, this is to help maintain physical distancing requirements on the wards, which is particularly challenging in shared rooms if patients have more than one visitor at a time.

Please do not come to our hospitals as a visitor if you are sick.

All visitors and patients at Southern hospitals must observe the following Level 2 requirements:

Masks or face coverings must be worn by outpatients and visitors.  This includes:

  • When in Common Areas
  • In Wards
  • In Lifts/Elevators

They should also be worn:

  • By inpatients where practicable/sensible
  • When patients are moving through common/shared spaces.

Physical distancing at Alert Level 2

Please keep 2 metres from people you do not know in public places.

Keep 1 metre apart in controlled environments like workplaces where practicable.

In the hospital cafeteria / café please comply with the 2 metre rule and do not rearrange seating, Please wear your mask when you’re not eating.

QR scanning in the health workplace

From 11:59pm on Tuesday 7 September, many businesses and locations including healthcare facilities are required to take steps to ensure people can easily make a record when they visit. 

All departments are required to have a well identified QR Code available for scanning. Please remember to scan - it is really important to scan as often as possible as you move around the hospital.

  • At the front door on arrival
  • Every time you get out of a lift
  • Every time you enter a ward, department or service where there is a QR code
  • In the café’s

Scan at every opportunity and politely encourage others to do the same.

Hospital Cafes at Level 2

All cafes are open in Level 2, but with Level 2 restrictions as follows:

  • Face masks must be worn whilst interacting others in the café
  • Scan on entry
  • Sanitise your hands
  • Maintain the seating arrangements
  • Do NOT place your worn face mask on the tables whilst eating.
  • Staff will be monitoring numbers and may restrict access.
  • Attempt to limit your time in the café to allow others to use the facility.

Please stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested

As we move down Alert Levels it is essential that we stay home and get tested if we have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if it’s only a runny nose.

Symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • a fever
  • a new or worsening cough
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste.

Less common symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • confusion or irritability.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are like other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu, however with the high transmissibility of the Delta variant testing is essential to ensure we don’t have COVID-19 in our community.

To arrange a test:

  • Call your GP or 0800 VIRUS19 to arrange a COVID-19 test.
  • Get tested and remain at home until your COVID-19 test results are received and you are well.

Thank you for doing your bit to keep our community safe.