Southern district enters “long tail” of COVID-19

Southern DHB COVID-19 Response Lead Dr Hywel Lloyd
Southern DHB COVID-19 Response Lead Dr Hywel Lloyd
As the winter months set in, the Southern district has entered the “long-tail” of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is expected that COVID-19 infections in our communities will continue to be widespread for the foreseeable future and, as such, we must all remain vigilant when out in the community.

“As a community we need to accept that COVID-19 is with us for now, and make choices accordingly,” says Dr Hywel Lloyd, SDHB COVID-19 Response Lead.

“We need to all assume that when we are out in the community there is a very real risk that we will come in contact with the COVID-19 virus. This can cause anxiety for many people, especially those who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 symptoms.

“The best way we can all protect ourselves and others, is to follow the simple actions that we have been talking about for a long time now:

  • wear a mask when out in public and in social settings
  • practise good hand hygiene and physical distancing where appropriate and
  • get your COVID-19 booster shot.

Doing these things will decrease your likelihood of infection and severe COVID-19 symptoms if you do catch it.”

With the onset of winter, the Southern district is also seeing an increase in flu (influenza) infection, with presentations at emergency departments because of flu already increasing.

“For the last few years, we have seen an absence of flu infections in our communities, but this year we are already seeing cases,” says Dr Susan Jack, Medical Officer of Health.

“If you are eligible for a free flu vaccination, we would highly recommend that you go and get it now. New Zealand’s borders have opened, and while we welcome visitors, we are also now seeing flu strains circulating in our communities.

A flu vaccination will reduce your risk of severe flu symptoms, reduce the likelihood that you will require hospital level care, and decrease the likelihood that you will pass the influenza virus onto others.”

Flu (influenza) vaccination is free for anyone over the age of 65, Māori and Pacific people over the age of 55, pregnant people, and anyone with underlying health conditions.

Many workplaces also offer free flu vaccination for staff.

Flu vaccination is available through your GP, or you can find your nearest location offering flu vaccination here


Check out these other Better Health South Stories:
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Vaccine storage issue

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