Tēnā koutou katoa,
New Zealand is preparing for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, as the particular strain is called.
As this happens I thought I would let you know that we too are preparing carefully. We have a business continuity plan (BCP), and are in contact with the Public Health Organisation and District Health Board teams. We are also continuously monitoring World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health communications and updates.
In New Zealand we’ve had a small number of confirmed cases so far and none of them are our staff or people we support. The virus doesn’t appear to be much worse than a bad flu, for most people. Even so, we are in “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” mode. We want to work together with you and our staff to ensure the people we support are well supported and looked after in the event that COVID-19 spreads.
Here is our current plan:
- Keep good hygiene as usual. That means washing your hands regularly for long enough to sing two verses of “Happy Birthday to you”.
- Cover any sneezes and coughs with your sleeve, etc. For more tips see this link. This is good practice, regardless of COVID-19.
- If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home and call the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 before visiting a doctor.
- Some events and services have been postponed.
The following guidelines will only apply if the virus begins to spread widely in our community:
- We will take a cautious approach, asking any unwell staff to stay home. This might lead to staff shortages, though we’ll do everything we can to keep things running smoothly.
- Line managers may (where possible and practical) ask whānau/families to look after people temporarily. This will reduce our load and let us prioritise staff.
- We will avoid group gatherings. More community activities may be postponed or cancelled.
- If so, we are prepared to support people with interesting and entertaining activities while they can’t go out.
- If people we support become unwell with the virus, we will do our best to avoid further spread. This may mean some form of isolation in line with Government and Ministry of Health guidelines. We will keep you informed of plans around this.
There will be more communications in the event of an outbreak. If we all work together we can minimise any problems. If you have feedback, ideas, or concerns, please contact Community Living staff.