Preparing for a second wave of Covid-19
As predicted earlier in the year, we are currently seeing a second wave of Covid-19 cases in our Southern communities.
As we come into the peak of the flu season, Covid-19 case numbers are rising once again, and are likely to stay high for the next couple of months.
We want to take this opportunity to remind people how to protect themselves and their whānau against Covid-19 and ensure the community is well prepared for this second wave.
Firstly, ensuring you are fully vaccinated and boosted gives you the best protection against Covid-19 and can often mean if you do test positive you will only experience mild symptoms.
All Covid vaccinations are free. So, check if you are up to date for your Covid vaccinations for you and your family, as new recommendations have been made recently.
Everyone aged 5 and over can receive two doses of the vaccine. A booster is available 6 months after the primary course for those aged 16 or 17, and 3 months after for those aged 18 or over.
A second booster was recently introduced for those at high risk of severe illness, anyone aged 50 and over, and health and disability workers over the age of 30.
If you are 16 or older and are eligible for the free flu immunisation you are probably eligible for the second Covid booster – talk to your general practice team if you are unsure.
You must wait at least six months between your first and second booster shot.
If you have had Covid, you should still have the booster, as it will protect you further, and you need to wait 3 months after you have tested positive before you have any Covid vaccination shots.
You can get your Covid vaccinations at your general practice, many community pharmacies, and the Immunisation Centre in Dunedin (now the old VTNZ site at 153 Hanover St), and in Invercargill at the Victoria Rooms and Awarua Whānau Services. Check what is available where you live at the Book My Vaccine website https://bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/, or you can contact your GP.
Secondly, remember that masks are important in keeping us all safe. Masks continue to be an important defence against the spread of Covid-19, particularly indoors, in places with poor ventilation, or where physical distancing is difficult.
Thirdly, keep using hand sanitiser or wash your hands with soap and water regularly to reduce the spread of germs.
If you do get sick, be prepared in advance. It is important to be prepared in the event you must self-isolate.
You should ensure you have a good supply of food, water, and hygiene products like soap and toilet paper.
Ensure you have a supply of any medication you take regularly, along with medicine to manage your symptoms like paracetamol and cough lozenges.
If you become unwell, it is important that you stay home and test, even if your symptoms are only mild. If the test comes back negative, you should stay home until you are symptom-free, so we do not spread other winter illnesses.
If the test comes back positive you are required to self-isolate for 7 days. If a member of your household tests positive for Covid, you must isolate at home for 7 days and get tested (Day 3 and Day 7 if you are asymptomatic, and immediately if you develop symptoms).
RAT tests are provided free of charge to anyone with symptoms or who is a household contact of a Covid positive case.
You can order RAT tests online for collection via https://requestrats.covid19.health.nz/, an order number is provided for collection and you can find your closest collection site on the HealthPoint website https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/community-health-services/community-health/southern-rats-community-collection-sites/.
When you complete a RAT test, you should report both positive and negative results via MyCovid Record https://mycovidrecord.health.nz/ or by calling 0800 222 478 and choosing option 3.
This helps monitor the size of Omicron’s spread and ensures you have access to appropriate care and support if you test positive.
“We are all wishing that Covid was over, but the reality is that it is still with us, and the winter colds and the flu are here as well. So we all need to keep doing the basics well - get immunised for Covid and influenza, keep wearing masks indoors, sanitise our hands, and stay home if we are sick. This is the best way to keep ourselves, our family and friends, and our communities as healthy as possible over the next couple of months” says Dr Carol Atmore, Medical Director of WellSouth Primary Health Network.
Walk in Vaccination sites in Southern:
Dunedin Immunisation Centre – Te Puna Āraimate ki Ōtepoti
Open for bookings and walk-ins: Mon-Thur 7.30am – 7pm, Sat – Sun 10am to 3.30pm.
Located on corner of Hanover and Cumberland Street (old VTNZ building).
Awarua Whānau Services
Drive through and walk-ins: Mon-Sun 11am – 5pm.
Located at Newfield Tavern Carpark, Regent St, Invercargill.
Unichem Remarkables Pharmacy
Bookings and walk-ins for 12+ years old: Mon-Fri: 8.30am to 6pm, Sat-Sun: 9am – 6pm.
Located at 53/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton.View more news