COVID-19 Resources

Click on the tabs below to access our COVID-19 resources.

Rostering Guidelines Under COVID-19

Working From Home

2 Metre Distancing Requirements

Section 70 Exemption for Essential Health Workers

The DHBs Alert Level Framework

Pod Rostering: Here are two examples of pod rostering for those who want some inspiration.  Whilst both come from the RMOs (who are rather good at this system) they are easily adaptable to anyone. Also our guidelines to rostering can be found here if you need them.

Restrictions for Pregnant Workers

We have asked that under the category of wellbeing, those concerned about being at work be given some latitude.  The DHBs are looking into this and in the interim suggest anyone in this category talk to occupational health about your circumstances.

The restrictions are:

  • If pregnant, you cannot work in any designated or higher-risk Covid-19 roles or areas (regardless of gestation).
  • If under 28 weeks pregnant with no complications or relevant health conditions, you can continue working in patient-facing roles.
  • If under 28 weeks pregnant with complications and/or relevant health conditions, you may not work in any patient-facing roles until you have completed a VWRA and have been cleared by the OH&SS.  It is likely that you will only be fit for non-patient-facing roles.

What about the deployment of pregnant staff and vaccination status?

Pregnant staff, even if ‘pro-vaccine’ may have chosen not to get vaccinated initially as the relative risks and benefits were less clear than now. It is now clear that there is a greater likelihood of complications for pregnant women infected with the Delta variant than their age matched cohorts, particularly in the third trimester related to respiratory compromise. There are also risks of pregnancy loss in earlier pregnancy.

COVID-19 vaccination is now strongly recommended for all pregnant women.

And of course, pregnant women should not be deployed in COVID-19 red zones, and those over 28 weeks pregnant not in patient facing roles. Women under 28 weeks pregnant who do not have any complications (or relevant health conditions/ risk factors), can continue to work in patient-facing roles while wearing appropriate PPE, but not in areas with high risk of COVID-19 patients.

Deployment decisions related to the red zone, and patient facing roles for women with complications/risk factors, should involve Occupational Health. In general, a more rather than less cautious approach is recommended for pregnant women.

What about unvaccinated workers in health?

Key risk areas have been identified as:

  • situations where staff are seeing people with undifferentiated illness, e.g. in primary care and emergency departments including associated radiology departments.
  • situations where there is a ‘density of potential exposure’ where staff may be directly caring for COVID-19 patients, in particular the designated medical ward(s) for COVID-19 patients or ICU.
  • staff who interact with people across multiple areas all the time in hospital settings, such as phlebotomists.
For unvaccinated staff working in any of these areas, two key additional mitigations have been advised.  You should:
  • wear a medical mask at all times in the work environment (when not seeing patients that require other PPE), to protect others; and
  • be expected to participate in regular surveillance testing. Exploration of saliva testing could facilitate this (e.g. saliva testing every 2 or 3 days along with weekly nasopharyngeal swab, and nasopharyngeal swab immediately if symptomatic).
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions. 

Those over 70 years of age: Are you vulnerable simply because of your age?

In a word “no”.  Risks related to age are relative and relate to the individual themselves of getting more severe consequences from COVID-19 infection; older age per se is not considered to influence the risk of being infected with COVID-19 if the person is not immunocompromised through underlying illness or treatment for underlying illness.

In general, medical fitness for work for those over the age of 70 years depends on multiple health and activity risk factors and requires an individual risk assessment. As shown in the graphic below, the age-related risk of death for a fully vaccinated person in their early 70s is reduced to the risk of death for an unvaccinated person in their early 40s, after two doses of COVID vaccine.

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And what about older Laboratory staff – given they have one of the oldest demographic amongst the health workforces?

Face to face patient exposure in other health care settings can involve risk of aerosol transmission whereas lab specimens are managed in a well-controlled environment.   This reduces risk.

What about unvaccinated workers in health?

Key risk areas have been identified as:

  • situations where staff are seeing people with undifferentiated illness, e.g. in primary care and emergency departments including associated radiology departments.
  • situations where there is a ‘density of potential exposure’ where staff may be directly caring for COVID-19 patients, in particular the designated medical ward(s) for COVID-19 patients or ICU.
  • staff who interact with people across multiple areas all the time in hospital settings, such as phlebotomists.
For unvaccinated staff working in any of these areas, two key additional mitigations have been advised.  You should:
  • wear a medical mask at all times in the work environment (when not seeing patients that require other PPE), to protect others; and
  • be expected to participate in regular surveillance testing. Exploration of saliva testing could facilitate this (e.g. saliva testing every 2 or 3 days along with weekly nasopharyngeal swab, and nasopharyngeal swab immediately if symptomatic).
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Childcare arrangements:

  • Workers who have children aged up to 13-years-old can access free care, so they are able to continue to provide the essential services we need during the current lockdown.
  • This is for the workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services, and other exempted services such as fire and emergency and border workers.
  • The scheme is also only for those Level 4 workers who do not have childcare in place – parents are expected to use their own private arrangements where possible.
  • A list of 32 providers, with national coverage, is now available for parents to contact.
  • These providers may offer options for childcare under the scheme either in the child’s home, or in the carer’s home.  The scheme aims to provide as much flexibility as possible for those workers who need it.
  • Just like last lockdown, these are all licensed services that usually provide home-based early childhood education – so all the safety checks have been done. And, just like last time, each carer will be limited to caring for children from a total of one family only.
  • Note: The funding is available for childcare provision where there is no other adult in the worker’s household who can care for the child, and the carer does not normally live at the same address as the worker.
  • More information, including how to contact a provider, can be found here.

Rostering Guidelines Under COVID-19

Working From Home

2 Metre Distancing Requirements

Section 70 Exemption for Essential Health Workers

The DHBs Alert Level Framework

The ‘Covid-19, Don’t Bring it Home’ Printable Resource 

Private Sector Members, Pay, Leave and Rights

Pod Rostering: Here are two examples of pod rostering for those who want some inspiration.  Whilst both come from the RMOs (who are rather good at this system) they are easily adaptable to anyone. Also our guidelines to rostering can be found here if you need them.

As a result of the unions representing healthcare workers working together and actively lobbying, ADHB has changed their visitor policy. The new visitor policy is as follows:

  • No visitors to be granted access unless approved by the Clinical Nurse Manager or senior manager on shift.
  • A maximum of one visitor or legal guardian that has been screened will be granted access if approved.
  • Birthing Suite: 1 support person can be with the labouring mother during birth and can stay postnatally until discharge – as long as they fulfil safety criteria. They need to stay in their bubble, in the room, as much as possible and wear a medical mask in public spaces/if there is a staff member in attendance.
  • Women’s Clinics: 1 support person may attend sensitive appointments or scans. Child health services including inpatients, outpatients and NICU: A maximum of one visitor or legal guardian that has been screened will be allowed to visit/accompany and cannot be swapped with another parent/guardian. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and any special care units: Visitor numbers will be restricted to one at a time and must be a parent or legal guardian.

Read news related to the ADHB visitor policy by clicking on the links below:

Auckland DHB Changes Visitor Policy after Nurses’ Union Takes Legal Action – Stuff, 13 September 2021

Criticism Continues to Mount over Auckland Hospital Visitor Rules – 1 News, 10 September 2021

Auckland Hospital Tightens Visiting Rules but Doctors’ Union Wants it to go Further – RNZ, 10 September 2021

Covid-19: Junior Doctors want Change to ADHB Visitor Policy – RNZ, 10 September 2021

Hospital Visitors Clustered Together During Level 4 say Cancer Patients – RNZ, 09 September 2021

Middlemore Hospital’s Covid Contacts test Negative so far – 1 News, 08 September 2021

Covid-19: Auckland DHB Staff Told in Memo not to Speak to the Media – Stuff, 07 September 2021

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