This email provides an update on the Government’s COVID-19 announcement, including guidance and links to additional information.
The Government announced this week that it has removed the last remaining mandatory COVID-19 public health requirements for a 7-day isolation period for people testing positive for COVID-19, along with the mandatory wearing of face masks for visitors to healthcare and disability facilities, will be removed.
This decision does not mean COVID-19 has disappeared. COVID-19 remains active in the community.
The wearing of facemasks by visitors in healthcare and disability settings and continuing to isolate if positive for COVID-19 are still being strongly recommended.
New Zealand has a good supply of antiviral medicines, and people with a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will continue to be eligible for treatment with antivirals.
Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, Minister of Health’s media release is available here:
Whaikaha thanks disability providers and carers for the continued commitment to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.
Although the mandatory requirements have been removed, we expect disability service providers to continue to take measures that will help prevent the spread of illnesses, including COVID-19.
Te Whatu Ora Guidance:
Guidance from Te Whatu Ora was released following the changes. Please find this guide ace attached.
We would like to highlight the following guidance for our disability provider network.
“When do I need to wear a face mask?
Mask wearing remains an important way we can prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, particularly in health and disability care settings.
It is especially important to wear a face mask when visiting people who are at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell, like older people and kaumātua, babies, people living in aged residential care facilities, patients in hospital and those with other health conditions, including disabled people.”
COVID-19 Guidance is also available for the health and disability sector on the Te Whatu Ora website:
Aged care, disability and hospice providers – Information and guidance on COVID-19 for aged care, disability support and hospice care providers.
We recommend disability support work staff continue to wear face masks in disability residential care settings, group homes and residences they visit, and in places disabled people access as part of daily living. People can also ask their support workers to wear a mask when they come into their home. We expect providers to accommodate these requests.
Disability providers are classified as “Persons Conducting a Business of Undertaking” (PCBUs). Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 PCBUs have fundamental responsibilities. These are:
the PCBU must ensure that health and safety of its workers while at work, and while carrying out the work.
the PCBU must also ensure that the health and safety of others are not put at risk by that work.
if there is a risk, it must eliminate that risk, or if it is unable to do so, minimise that risk.
These responsibilities mean that any existing IPC controls should stay in place for disability services.
More information can be found here:
Family, whānau, and āiga carers – Information and advice for carers who support friends, family, whānau and āiga who are unwell or who have a chronic health condition or disability.
Support Workers – Guidance and information on reducing the impact and spread of COVID-19 for people employed to provide care and support to people living at home.
Personal protective equipment – Information on PPE and the supply of PPE from the Te Whatu Ora’s Central Supply to providers contributing to the COVID-19 response.
COVID-19 Information for disabled people
The COVID-19 website will include updated information in accessible formats once it is available, and remains the best source of information for disabled people.
The dedicated Disability Helpline (0800 11 12 13 or text 8988) continues to support the disability community with information on testing and managing COVID at home.
The helpline team can also help with:
If you need communication assistance, you can access using the NZ Relay Service www.nzrelay.co.nz. A person with experience or knowledge of disability will answer your call from 8am – 8pm. After 8pm, calls are answered by a trained member of the Healthline team.
Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People