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SDHB daily media update for Thursday 13 August 2020

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Southern Medical Officer of Health outlines procedures in place

- GPs, primary care and lab staff recognised -

Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Jack is calling for calm, as she assures people in the Southern district that public health procedures are in place and underway.

Dr Jack said information about the new cases of community transmission in Auckland and news reports about people leaving Auckland to visit Queenstown had Southerners concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19.

"People are naturally anxious and there is a lot of concern in our community. While we are pleased that people are taking the situation seriously, we are concerned that unhelpful speculation is fuelling community fears.

"With regards to the Auckland index family, rapid contact tracing has occurred and will continue to occur for any new cases. Any contacts have been identified and have been asked to be tested regardless of where they are in the country.

"Other people from Auckland who have possible COVID symptoms, as is the case for all people with symptoms, should be tested.

"Demand for testing has intensified in recent days, as we have become aware of the reappearance of COVID-19 in New Zealand. We have made repeated calls for people with symptoms to come forward to be tested, and I an extremely appreciative that they have done so. This is enabling us to establish whether there is any community transmission of the virus, and to act as swiftly as possible to stamp it out.

"Anyone with any possible COVID symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, fever, cough, loss of smell should be tested. Please call your GP or 0800VIRUS19 to make an appointment for testing and stay at home. This includes young people with symptoms across our district.

"Everyone should follow the advice for the rest of New Zealand under Alert Level 2 with really good hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing a mask where physical distancing is not possible.

"Please check the Ministry of Health website for more information, or call Healthline or 0800 VIRUS19 if you are unwell."

Dr Jack said that it was essential that people who are unwell do not visit staff or patients at the region’s hospitals.

"Do not visit a hospital if you have any of the following symptoms - cough, running nose, sore throat, fever, new shortness of breath, headache, muscles pains, fatigue, or loss of sense of smell - you will be sent home.

"Patients with hospital appointments who have symptoms should contact the hospital and reschedule, she said.

"Similarly, if you have symptoms and want to be assessed or tested, please do not simply turn up at a general practice or emergency department. Please call first. This is important to keep other patients and staff safe."

Dr Jack also praised Southern primary care health professionals on the frontline.

"I sincerely appreciate the response from across the primary care sector, with GPs and our PHO WellSouth going to great lengths to undertake all the testing that has been called for, and more. I also acknowledge the hard work of Southern Community Laboratories for processing these tests for us. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and a critical part of the overall response to COVID-19," she said.

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