Key messages for Primary Care and the general public

18 Aug 2020

Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving.

As at 14 August 2020, the advice is as follows.

All patients presenting with symptoms must be tested

Get a test if you have symptoms
 
·        We encourage anyone in Auckland with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to be tested, whether or not they meet the Higher Index of Suspicion.  
·        If you live outside of Auckland and you have symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline to find out if you need to get a test for COVID-19. If you’re offered a test, take it.
·        The assessment and test for COVID-19 is free. We will support anyone who has COVID-19 and their family, and look after their health and wellbeing.
·        If you do not have symptoms, you do not need a test, UNLESS you’ve been advised by health officials, for example if you’re a close contact a confirmed case, or if you work at the border.
·        The tests are free and should be easy to access for everyone.
·        It’s also important to remember the basic public health measures which keep communities protected: staying home if you’re sick, frequent hand-washing, and good sneeze and cough etiquette.
We encourage you to keep checking the Ministry of Health and COVID-19 websites for new information.

Information can be sourced from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus and https://covid19.govt.nz/


Medicine supply - update for general practice

·        Pharmacies all over New Zealand are starting to report stockpiling behaviour with regard to medicines
·        Medicine supply chains are secure, and pharmacies will remain open throughout all alert levels so there is no need to stockpile
·        We are asking prescribers to prescribe normally and be mindful of the significant negative impacts of enabling stockpiling behaviour through their prescribing.
·        Despite there being no significant medicine shortages in New Zealand, stockpiling will put a major strain on supply chains. Unlike supermarkets, who are able to re-stock from New Zealand manufacturers, medicines are mostly sourced from overseas suppliers and the ability to re-stock quickly is very limited.  
·        We need to ensure that every New Zealander will continue to have access to the medicines they need and that vulnerable communities don’t miss out.  
·        If stockpiling behaviour continues PHARMAC will need to seriously consider re-instating monthly dispensing, this is not ideal as it can also have negative consequences for adherence and means people who are in isolation will potentially have to visit pharmacies more often.
·        We encourage you to keep checking the Ministry of Health and COVID-19 websites for new information.

Information can be sourced from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus and https://covid19.govt.nz/


Key messages to provide the Public

Get a test if you have symptoms
 
·        We encourage anyone in Auckland with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to be tested, whether or not they meet the Higher Index of Suspicion.  
·        If you live outside of Auckland and you have symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline to find out if you need to get a test for COVID-19. If you’re offered a test, take it.
·        The assessment and test for COVID-19 is free. We will support anyone who has COVID-19 and their family, and look after their health and wellbeing.
·        If you do not have symptoms, you do not need a test, UNLESS you’ve been advised by health officials, for example if you’re a close contact a confirmed case, or if you work at the border.
·        The tests are free and should be easy to access for everyone.
·        It’s also important to remember the basic public health measures which keep communities protected: staying home if you’re sick, frequent hand-washing, and good sneeze and cough etiquette.

Medicine supply

There is no need to stock-pile on medicines. Community pharmacies stay open to the public through all COVID-19 levels and will be available in your communities to support you with your medicine supply and information needs.

If you don’t need your prescription straight away, arrange for the prescription to be sent through to the pharmacy of your choice and then make contact with that pharmacy to arrange a convenient time to pick up your medicine or have it delivered. This will ensure the pharmacy team can be available to spend time with you and minimises numbers in pharmacies at any one time to support physical distancing.

As you would in your local supermarket, please be kind to those people in your local pharmacy - they are there to support you.

We encourage you to keep checking the Ministry of Health and COVID-19 websites for new information.

Information can be sourced from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus and https://covid19.govt.nz/


Ngaa mihi nui

Philip Grady
Sector Relationship Lead
COVID Directorate
Ministry of Health