Traffic Light Level: ORANGE

Like other health centres across the country, we are working differently to try and reduce the spread of any potential COVID-19 outbreaks. This means that under ORANGE we are offering non-urgent appointments by phone or video and sometimes even by text or email. However, if you need to see your Healthcare Provider in person, you can still do that safely.

Key Points

We are still “open for business”

This means that you can still get the healthcare service and advice that you need.

We may consult with you using some form of telehealth

Such as calling you on the phone, sending you a text or email or using a video call. You will still get the same level of expert healthcare advice as you would if you were in the practice in person. 

In some cases, we may need to see you in person

If you need to come into the practice, we will care for you safely and protect you from the risk of catching COVID19. 

You are not “bothering us”

Please don’t think that you are “bothering us” during this time with your health issues and needs – we are still here for you even when your needs are not related to covid-19

Why do we need to triage appointments at the health centre?

Vulnerability:

If someone with Covid-19 walks into the Pleasant Point Health Centre, we would then have to close our doors, to all patients, until such time as the practice has been ‘deep cleaned’ and all staff have been isolated, tested and cleared. That would take several days – during which time we could see no other patients at all. If any staff then develop Covid-19, the practice would have to remain closed until we could establish that all the staff are Covid- free. That could take weeks!

That would also mean that the 2000 patients registered here would not be able to use our services during that time. To keep everyone safe (including our staff – so they can support you) we need you to;

  • keep your distance from other people in public
  • wash your hands regularly sneeze and cough into your elbow
  • keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen (use the App)
  • wear a mask if you can.
  • get tested for Covid-19 if you have symptoms
  • stay home if you are unwell- call the practice. DO NOT COME IN unless instructed to do so.

We are triaging ALL appointment requests – which simply means that a registered nurse will decide;

  • if you actually need to be seen,
  • who will best meet your needs and,
  • how they can do that- safely. (face-to-face, video or phone consult).

To do any less, would not meet our professional responsibility to all of our patients, or to our staff.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus discovered in 2019.

The virus that causes COVID-19 has mutated (changed) over time, creating new variants. Omicron is now the most common variant across the world. This variant seems to spread and infect people more easily and may cause people to get more serious illnesses. 

Most people that get infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently, wearing a mask when in public places and not touching your face.  The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

The Covid-19 numbers (14/04/2022) 

  • 501,462,441 cases globally
  • 6,188,262 deaths globally
  • 11,128,525,770  Vaccine Does administered globally

 

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.  WHO first learned of this new virus on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.

Covid-19:  CO short for corona     Vi short for virus    D short for disease   19 represents 2019 - the year it was first identified.

What is Delta? 

Delta is a strain of Covid-19. It has quickly became outdated by the Omicron variant.

What is OMICRON?

On 26 November 2021, WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).

Transmissibility

The (U.S.) CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

Although specifics are not yet available, there is a consensus that Omicron is far more transmissible than Delta and (as of 20/12/21) is already the dominant strain in the United States providing more than 73% of all cases currently. This would suggest that it is extremely successful at transmission.  

Severe Illness

More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.

The following images of (U.S.) data from John Hopkins University illustrate an upwards surge in covid cases recently, but no real corresponding upwards trend in covid-related deaths. This does not confirm that Omicron is less severe, merely that less people have died from it.

point health covid surge

point health covid deaths

 

 

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses, including flus and colds and they do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19.

The time from exposure to COVID-19 to the moment when symptoms begin is, on average, 5-6 days and can range from 1-14 days. This is why people who have been exposed to the virus are advised to remain at home and stay away from others, for 14 days, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, especially where testing is not easily available.

 

 

 

It can be hard to tell the difference between the flu, certain allergies and Covid-19.

If you have these symptoms and have recently been to a country or area of concern, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, please contact Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or your doctor immediately.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. 

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO),..

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue

Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include:

  • Loss of taste or smell,
  • Nasal congestion,
  • Conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes)
  • Sore throat,
  • Headache,
  • Muscle or joint pain,
  • Different types of skin rash,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Chills or dizziness.

Symptoms of severe COVID‐19 disease include:

  • Shortness of breath,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Confusion,
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest,
  • High temperature (above 38 °C).

Other less common symptoms are:

  • Irritability,
  • Confusion,
  • Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures),
  • Anxiety,
  • Depression,
  • Sleep disorders,
  • More severe and rare neurological complications such as strokes, brain inflammation, delirium and nerve damage.

People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or loss of speech or movement should seek medical care immediately. If possible, call your health care provider, hotline or health facility first, so you can be directed to the right clinic.

Vaccines

As there are now several approved vaccines to combat Covid-19 and its many strains, most countries have a vaccination programme in place. These programmes prioritise those most at risk, including elderly, frontline health workers, border control staff and those with health conditions that make them vulnerable.

Studies show that about 95% of people who have received both doses of the vaccine, are protected against getting COVID-19 symptoms. Current research shows that once you are fully vaccinated you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.

NOTE: Having been vaccinated does not mean that you wont get Covid19. It does mean that the effects will not be as brutal. (There are plenty of documented cases where fully vaccinated people have contracted Covid)

Antibiotics

Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

In hospitals, physicians will sometimes use antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections which can be a complication of COVID-19 in severely ill patients. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.

If you become unwell, contact Healthline

Contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453, or your Healthcare provider if you begin to feel unwell. The symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

For all non-health related questions, call 0800 Government (0800 779 997).

New Zealand currently has very few cases of COVID-19 but the Omicron variant has arrived and is spreading in communities. This is a particularly transmissable strain and is the reason why the country has moved to alert level RED. In order to get past this disease, everyone will need to follow the instructions given by the authorities.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is;

  • to keep yourself well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads.
  • protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.
  • wearing a mask whenever you are in public spaces
  • Maintain social distancing

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

The following facts are all responses to theories and questions about Covid-19 that have done the rounds. Some of them may appear to be downright whacky and weird, however; some folks believe them. Further information about each fact can be found on the World Health Organisation website here >>>> 

FACT: Vitamin and mineral supplements cannot cure COVID-19 

FACT: Dexamethasone is not a treatment for all COVID-19 patients

FACT: People do NOT have to wear masks while exercising (can makes it hard to breathe!) 

Fact: Water or swimming does not transmit the COVID-19 virus

FACT: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus, NOT by bacteria

FACT: The prolonged use of medical masks when properly worn, DOES NOT cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency

FACT: Most people who get COVID-19 recover from it

FACT: Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous

FACT: 5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19 (no aluminium hats required) 

FACT: We will not run out of toilet paper

FACT: Catching COVID-19 DOES NOT mean you will have it for life

FACT: The COVID-19 virus can spread in hot and humid climates

FACT: Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the COVID-19 virus

FACT: People of all ages can be infected by the COVID-19 virus

 

Is the Health Centre still open during all Traffic Light levels?

Yes we are. If you need an in-person appointment, you can still get one. However, non-urgent, routine appointments will be done via telehealth options whenever possible.

Will I still have to pay for my appointment if it is by a different method than usual?

Yes, your appointment will be treated the same as if you were in the clinic, so normal charges will apply. The usual 15 minute consult limits also apply as this is about enabling clinicians to manage their time for all patients.

Can I call my Healthcare provider anytime?

No, you’ll need to make an appointment just like normal. Call the Health Centre or use the Myindici patient portal to set that up.

How can I get a prescription?

If you need medicine prescribed, then your Healthcare Provider will tell you that during your appointment and can send your prescription straight to the pharmacy that best suits you. You can let them know during the appointment where that is.

If your request is for a repeat prescription, just ask for it as you normally would;

  • Order your repeat meds through the patient portal Myindici,
  • Ring the script line 03 6147002 or,
  • Ring the Health Centre and ask to speak to a nurse about your prescription needs. 

Can I still get my flu jab?

Yes, you can – call the Health Centre as normal and they’ll let you know how this will happen. You might need to stay in your car and have the flu jab there or we may use a different area of the practice. We'll let you know.

If I use telehealth, how will they take my blood pressure?

The clinician will talk to you over the phone about how this will work. Visits in person will still be needed for some health issues and these will be arranged for you.

Can I just turn up at the Health Centre to get seen?

You must call first. Patienst with appointments are being asked to wait in their cars, notify us that they are there and then the clinician will come out and get them for their appointment. Of course, it it is a medical emergency, let us know and you will recieve appropriate treatment. We are doing this to try  and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone safe and healthy.

I’m over 70 and not allowed to leave home – how can I see my Healthcare Provider?

Call the Health Centre first and then if they need to see you at the clinic, come in. We care deeply about looking after your health and have the most up to date information from the Ministry of Health. We will make sure you are safe when you visit them.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

Your first call should be to the Healthline COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453. Do not visit the Health Centre unannounced – you need to alert us first and they will tell you what to do.

Telehealth Consults.

The Pleasant Point Health Centre provides video or phone consults to those patients that want to be seen, but that do not essentially need a face-to-face consult.

But isnt treating people your role?

Yes it is, but we cannot help anybody if we get infected. If someone in our bubble’s gets infected, we would have to shut our doors for the minimum isolation period, during which time our 2000 patients would have no health cover by our practice.

Video and phone consults protect you and us. Of course if the clinician cannot establish what they need to know in order to be able to diagnose your problem via telehealth, then they may then require you to come for an appointment. But they will make that very clear to you.

WHY?

Even under Orange we expect everyone in the practice to wear a face mask and practice social distancing wherever possible. We have the facilities to use telehealth consults for most situations and all you require is internet access via a phone or tablet (preferably with a camera).

Face to face consults are always available.

How do we do a video consult?

Once you have let the Health Centre know that you need an appointment they will send you a link for you to go to on your cellphone or ipad/tablet. If you do not have a device with a webcam, then you may be restricted to a simple phone consult. Discuss this when you make your appointment.

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