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Thursday, 14 October 2021
South plans for an outbreak
‘‘Get vaccinated to protect what you love.’’
That is the message from Well South primary health medical director Dr Carol Atmore, who is part of a group working on a safe and effective local response in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak in the South.
The best approach was to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and she encouraged people to take advantage of Super Saturday clinics this weekend.
‘‘I would encourage anyone who isn’t vaccinated, or who has been waiting, to please take this opportunity to get the vaccine.
‘‘You’ll be protecting those you care about and what you care about.
‘‘Everyone has a role to play.’’
The planned model of care in the event of a Delta outbreak in the Southern district would involve patients being safely managed at home in order to quell transmission rates.
Patients would be sent a pulse oximeter to measure their vital signs and would be regularly in contact with the GP or nurse managing their case.
Dr Atmore said the process of caring for people would be the same whether they had been vaccinated or not, although unvaccinated people were at 10 times more risk of getting really sick with Covid, ending up in hospital and dying.
‘‘So these people will need to be more closely monitored. This is built into how we plan to provide care,’’ she said.
As the plan was to provide remote face-to-face care for the patient with Covid-19, planning needed to take into account people who did not have access to the internet.
‘‘While we are still finalising all details of the plan, providing mobile phones is an option that could help ensure we can maintain contact with and care for a Covid-19 positive patient,’’ Dr Atmore said.
Face-to-face monitoring via video applications would be preferable, so doctors and nurses could see patients.
‘‘But the system will still work when people only have a telephone — we might just need to be a bit more cautious if they are getting a bit sicker, particularly if they are unvaccinated.’’
In terms of the number of potential Covid-19 cases, Dr Atmore said care systems were being designed so they could be ‘‘scaled up’’.
Early detection was vital, and health authorities were encouraging Covid-19 testing, as it helped to stop the spread of the disease.
‘‘We really appreciated everyone who gets a test when they have cold or flulike symptoms. You are doing your part to keep the Southern region free from Covid-19.’’
For reliable information about vaccination, visit covid.immune.org.nz, or phone your GP surgery.
If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, phone 0800 VIRUS-19 (0800 847-8719) to book a free test. You should stay at home until symptom-free.