COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES
Kia ora koutou,
Click here for the COVID-19 Testing Guidance
We have undertaken our regular review of our COVID-19 Testing Guidance for the Health Sector and I’m writing to let you know there is now an updated version of this document, replacing the testing guidance that was in force from 28 January – 3 March 2021.
For the period ending 14 April 2021, we’ll continue to focus our efforts on quickly testing all people with symptoms of COVID-19 in all regions, with the possible exception, subject to clinician judgment, of the elderly and young children.
I’d like to thank those of you who have continued to support the response to the recent community cases in Northland and Auckland, which have been the more transmissible B1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom.
Ongoing vigilance regarding atypical symptoms of COVID-19
As part of our current response, we are reminding the public and healthcare workers to familiarise themselves with the more atypical symptoms of COVID-19.
These less typical symptoms include muscle aches and pains and fatigue (which individuals may attribute to causes such as exercise), fever, diarrhoea, headache, nausea/vomiting, or confusion/irritability. If there is not another likely diagnosis, and they meet the HIS criteria or they are contacts of a case (including casual contacts), then test.
Focus for the next six weeks
From 4 March to 14 April 2021, our focus remains on continuing to implement a sufficient level of testing across Aotearoa New Zealand to ensure that any cases of COVID-19 are quickly identified and managed.
This includes responding to the recent community cases and continuing to worth with DHBs and PHUs to provide ongoing assurance that COVID-19 continues to be contained both at the border and in the community.
As we learn more about these latest community cases, our testing focus may change. We will stay in touch and will continue to work closely with you as the situation develops.
In the community, our focus for the next six weeks remains on:
· testing anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 in all regions, with the possible exception, subject to clinician judgment, of the elderly and young children.
· testing regions/groups that have been underrepresented in recent data, in particular Māori communities. Noting testing rates have consistently been below rates for non-Māori but have improved in the last two months.
· continued testing at the border, in line with the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020
· testing as part of any wider case or outbreak investigation. In particular, targeted testing, for example by geographic locations or for specific populations, should be considered in this setting
· promoting basic public health actions – distancing, hand washing and drying, responsible hygiene, and staying home if sick. These are things that everyone can do, and we know they work with COVID-19, including any new variants.
· as advised previously, anyone presenting to hospital with an acute respiratory infection, or who develops symptoms while hospitalised, should be tested for SARS-CoV-2, irrespective of region or other risk criteria. Exceptions can be made, subject to clinical judgement, for young children and the elderly.
The full current advice for the period ending 14 April 2021 is available online.
As always, the assessment and testing for COVID-19 is at no cost to individuals.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield
Director-General of Health