Monday 15 August 2022Health news5 minutes to read
To ease the pressure on the West Coast health system and to protect vulnerable and older patients, from today, 15 August, temporary changes to Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast’s visitor policy take effect at the district’s facilities.
Across the West Coast, we are continuing to experience sustained pressure on the health system as a result of staff vacancies coupled with our community and health workforce being unwell or having to look after whānau at home.
Dr Graham Roper, Te Whatu Ora West Coast’s Chief Medical Officer says that in order to protect our most vulnerable patients, it’s essential we tighten our visitor restrictions and enforce a ‘no mask, no entry’ policy.
As a temporary measure, children and young people under the age of 16 will not be allowed into Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast facilities, unless the visit is prearranged on compassionate grounds.
From today you will need to keep your mask on at all times while inside any of our facilities, and we have increased the minimum age of visitors to one person aged 16 or over to visit each patient,” Dr Roper says.
“We anticipate that the current pressures being experienced across our health system will continue throughout winter. Everyone can do their bit to help us get through the next few weeks by continuing to follow the usual public health measures. This means stay home if you’re unwell, get tested if you’re symptomatic, wash and dry your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, wear a mask in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor public settings, and get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
No visiting patients with COVID-19
You must NOT visit our facilities if you
Full details of the new visitors’ rules, including exceptions, are available on our website.
A reminder to everyone that you can now pick up supplies of free RATs from community collection points. There is no criteria. You don’t need to be unwell or have symptoms to get free RATs.
Wherever possible please order online at https://requestrats.covid19.health.nz/ or by calling 0800 222 478 between 8am – 8pm (7 days).
Free face masks are also available from RAT collections sites (subject to availability).
You can find your nearest community collection point here
More COVID-19 vaccine options
For adults aged 18 and over who wish to have a different COVID-19 booster vaccine option, Novavax and AstraZeneca are now available to book as a second booster at least six months after a first booster.
While Pfizer continues to be the preferred vaccine, the alternative boosters are available from for priority groups. You can find the eligibility criteria here: https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-boosters. Second boosters are free and are important for our most vulnerable people as we go through winter. Staying up to date with the recommended COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to protect you from the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.
Check out https://vaccinatecanterburywestcoast.nz/ to see where you can receive these vaccines. AstraZeneca boosters require a prescription and you can get this for free either from a GP or from a participating vaccination centre. Please note, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is being phased out. The last day people can get AstraZeneca is 4 September, it will no longer be available in New Zealand after that.
It’s also time to see if you are winter ready and ensure your other vaccinations are up to date such as flu and MMR (measles). Your family doctor can help, and many vaccinations can be done at your local pharmacy.
Rural healthupdateurgent careVisitor restrictionsWest Coast
Page last updated: 15 August 2022
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