Don’t put off seeking health care, regardless of alert levels and make sure you get vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s the plea from Hawke’s Bay health officials who urge people to not delay seeking health care or advice.
Hawke’s Bay DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Nick Jones and Health Hawke’s Bay Medical Director Dr Louise Haywood say people must put the health of themselves and their loved ones first.
“No one should put off calling their doctor if they are unwell or need their routine medicines kept up-to-date. General practices and pharmacies remain open across all alert levels, however it is important to call first,” said Dr Haywood a GP at Hastings Health Centre.
“Additionally, it’s very important childhood immunisations, such as Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), should also continue to be given on time so parents/caregivers should be contacting their family doctor to arrange these if they are overdue,” she said.
Dr Jones said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 should also be a priority with everyone aged 12 and over able to book a vaccination from today at bookmyvaccine.nz.
“Our DHB and primary care providers are doing a great job with the vaccine rollout here in Hawke’s Bay and there are many places within the community across our region where people can be vaccinated,” he said.
“Studies show that about 95 percent of people who have received both doses of the vaccine are protected against getting COVID-19 symptoms.
“This means that once you are fully vaccinated, you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.
“You only have to look across to New South Wales where hospitals report 98 percent of those requiring intensive care treatment all have one thing in common – they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Dr Jones also reinforced the importance of getting tested for COVID-19 if unwell with cold or flu symptoms.
“During this pandemic testing anyone unwell for COVID is absolutely essential to staying on top of any outbreak and to protect others.
“Getting tested is free and can be arranged through your family doctor or by calling a local community testing centre directly.”
Dr Jones said the DHB had also set up a testing initiative to support fast turnaround of results for essential service workers.
“Test results are being turned around within 25 hours at the moment. To ensure a quick process testing centres will also prioritise essential workers bookings. Simply let the testing centre know you are an essential worker when you call to book.
“Our essential workforce is critical to keeping the economy moving in Hawke’s Bay but they are also the most vulnerable to getting COVID-19 as they are out and about. It is very important no one goes to work if they are unwell unless they have been tested. We encourage employers to support their workers to stay home and get tested if they are unwell,” Dr Jones said.
Hawke’s Bay DHB Chief Operating Officer Chris Ash said the DHB’s emergency departments had good safety measures in place during alert levels while still caring for the very unwell. “It’s important to remind people if it’s an emergency, call 111. Do not delay seeking emergency care.
“During Alert Level 3 we thank people for their understanding as we continue to have a strict no visitor/support person policy in Hastings ED. This is due to the small confined spaces and the need to keep staff and patients safe.”
Mr Ash said in other wards and rural settings, the DHB’s Level 3 visitor policy allowed one dedicated person from the patient’s bubble for visiting. However, anyone who felt unwell should stay home and not come to hospital. The DHB’s Level 3 visitor policy can be found on the DHB’s website: www.ourhealthhb.nz.
Need to see your GP?
Ways to contact your doctor have not changed whether via the telephone or through a patient portal with consultations taking place either in person, or remotely via phone or video. If you do need to visit your GP clinic, follow these steps:
- Book via a patient portal or call first – don’t just turn up.
- Wear a face covering/mask
- Maintain social distance of 2m
- Practice good hand hygiene.
COVID-19 Testing Centres:
- Napier: 06 650 4000
- Hastings: 06 281 2644.
- Wairoa: 06 838 8333
- Central Hawke’s Bay residents should call their doctor or Healthline: 0800 358 5453.