SDHB urges public to be vigilant

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The Southern DHB is urging the public to be vigilant, as cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 increase in New Zealand.

Southern DHB chief executive Chris Fleming said while there were no cases of Omicron in the Southern district at present, everyone needed to follow public health guidelines. These included wearing masks, scanning the Covid-19 QR codes, practicing 1m physical distancing, having Bluetooth turned on on phones and practicing good hand hygiene.

If you have cold or flu symptoms get a Covid-19 test and stay home until you receive a negative result.

"It’s important to remember that with Omicron, most people who are fully vaccinated with two doses and a booster will have a mild illness and be able to recover safely at home,’’ Mr Fleming said.

"Our focus will be on supporting those who are more vulnerable and have underlying health conditions."

Under the Red setting, it will be business as usual at Dunedin Hospital, with surgery and outpatient appointments going ahead.

The key change for anyone entering any DHB facility will be the need to wear a surgical mask, and pay attention to physical distancing.

Entranceways to hospitals and facilities are being streamed, Self-Isolation Quarantine (SIQ) facilities are available, and additional protective technology such as UV lights are Hepa filters are being installed.

Boosters

Demand for booster vaccinations has been strong across the Southern district, and is increasing steadily.

Southern DHB Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Programme lead Karl Metzler said it was encouraging to see so many people getting their booster shots.

“Getting your booster dose is the best form of defence against Omicron . . it will help protect you, your family and your community,’’ he said.

Medical Officer of Health Susan Jack said being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 protected people against serious illness and decreases the need for hospitalisation and ICU care.

"A Covid-19 booster shot increases your protection against illness, which will also help to decrease spread in our communities.

"If it is four months since your second shot, you are now eligible for a booster.

"Please don’t wait to be boosted — Omicron is coming and your best protection is to be fully vaccinated and boosted," she said.

The rollout of paediatric vaccinations across the Southern district has been phased to allow providers to increase capacity and deliver 5–11-year-old vaccinations safely alongside booster vaccinations.

Capacity and locations are increasing each week until mid-February.

People are encouraged to book online at BookMyVaccine or by calling 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days).

How to wear a surgical mask

Do

 - Wash or sanitise your hands before and after handling your mask

 - Hold the mask by the straps

 - Fan it out to cover the mouth, chin and nose

 - Wear it with the blue/coloured side outwards

 - Ensure the stiff strip is at the top and moulds comfortably over the bridge of your nose

 - Securely hook the elastic straps over your ears.

Don’t

 - Create a ‘figure eight’ with the straps as this creates air gaps.

 - Touch your mask unnecessarily

 - Let anyone else touch or wear your mask

 - Leave your mask lying around or on a table

brenda.harwood@thestar.co.nz

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