By Kaikōura Health Services Manager Angela Blunt
Planning for COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) in Kaikōura has been happening for some time – before we had any cases in New Zealand. The team at Kaikōura Health Te Hā O Te Ora formed a working group last month to make sure our local processes meet the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and Canterbury DHB and we are working hard to ensure that we keep the community as safe as possible.
You have an important role to help us keep everyone well, too. We need your help to ensure that NO potentially infectious people come into the health facility without calling first.
If someone has been overseas in the last 14 days, have a cough, fever, sore throat or flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or with similar symptoms they should call Healthline’s free COVID -19 line on 0800 358 5453. Please spread the word to your friends and family about this process.
If Healthline advise you to contact your GP then please phone us on 03 319 3501 and let us know that you have these symptoms. We can’t say it enough times – please do not come into the facility without phoning ahead.
As part of our own safety measures all patients who phone for an appointment are now being asked a series of questions to ensure that we can triage you appropriately. Patients who meet our triage criteria will be called or seen in a specially set-up room.
If you do come into the facility with these symptoms you will be asked to return to your vehicle until a nurse or doctor can see you to assess you. Please do not be offended by this, we are trying to minimise the chances of the virus spreading.
Please ensure that you use the hand sanitiser at the front door on entering the building and again when you leave.
As a precaution we have removed all magazines and toys from the waiting room but please feel free to bring your own books to read while you are waiting.
Over the next few days we will be adjusting reception and the glass on their windows will be down with a small gap to enable them to talk with you. This is to provide our staff protection to ensure they are able to continue to work.
Visitors to our rest home and inpatient services
We ask that if you have been overseas in the last 14 days, have a cough, sore throat, fever or flu like symptoms or have been in contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or with similar symptoms that you do not come and visit our residents or our inpatients in the Acute wing. These are some of our most vulnerable people.
The flu vaccine will soon be available, much earlier than normal, for our most at risk to make sure that they get the best protection possible, as early as possible. These groups are: people aged 65 and over, people who are pregnant, people with certain chronic conditions, and young children with a history of severe respiratory illness. The flu vaccine does not protect you against COVID-19 but making sure people most at risk of needing hospital care with the flu will help to manage the demand on our hospitals this winter. The vaccine will be available for the wider community from 13 April. To help meet likely demand, 40,000 extra vaccines have been ordered for the country. Keep your eye on the newspaper, our website and our Facebook page and the Kaikoura District Council pages for information and dates for flu clinics.