Welcome to your regular Canterbury COVID-19 update.
Now that Aotearoa is at the Orange setting, things are feeling a little closer to normal, with the removal of capacity limits and distancing requirements. Masks will continue to play a key role in keeping our case numbers low. Find out all about life at Orange here.
There’s a lot going on out there – thanks for supporting each other.
When it comes to your children, it’s natural to want to be well informed. You might have some questions, so it’s good to know that the Pfizer vaccine has gone through clinical trials with thousands of tamariki aged 5-11.
COVID-19 usually has a milder effect on tamariki, similar to having a cold. However, some children who haven’t been immunised can become very ill. Some can also suffer long term effects, known as long COVID.
Immunising our 5-11 year-olds can help protect other vulnerable whānau members, including younger tamariki who can’t get vaccinated.
Watch Dr Lily Fraser’s kōrero with tamariki about vaccinations in this short video, and Karawhiua has plenty of information here.
Accessible and low-sensory vaccination clinics
You can get your COVID-19 vaccination at an Accessible Clinic if you have a disability, impairment or long-term health condition.
These clinics are set up to be relaxed and welcoming, with extra support in place to be accessible. Accessible clinics and vaccination events have:
Longer appointment times
More space to move around
Trained and friendly staff who are happy to talk with you and answer questions
Longer appointments are available in calm environments at low sensory vaccination clinics around Canterbury. This video walks you through the Nurse Maude low sensory clinic in Merivale, and shows you what to expect when you visit.
Have a look at vaccination clinic options across Canterbury here.
‘Boost Canterbury’ campaign starts next week
A two-week campaign starts on 27 April to encourage people to get boosted across Waitaha, particularly in lower-vaccinated communities. The campaign will reach across Christchurch, Hurunui, Ashburton, Selwyn and Kaikōura, and into Māori & Pasifika, Asian and youth audiences.
It will answer some common questions about booster shots and highlight local places for booster vaccinations.
Currently more than 90,000 Canterbury people are due for their booster. Having your booster is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from serious Omicron illness.
Testing for COVID-19
Free COVID-19 RAT tests
Remember, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or you’re a household contact or a critical worker, you can order Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits for yourself and your household.
RATs need to be picked up from a collection site near you. Someone else can collect on your behalf.
Order your RATs here or free call 0800 222 478.
Face covering exemption cards
The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards. Thanks to the Disabled Persons Assembly which has been administering this until now.
Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988.
Do you have COVID-19?
Age Concern’s community connectors
Age Concern Canterbury has three MSD funded community connectors available to support older people. Chief Executive Simon Templeton encourages people to reach out if they are in need.
“If you have a need, or are unsure about anything, please give us a call on 366 0903. Nothing is a bother, that’s what we are here for. And no question is a silly question,” he says.
During the pandemic, Age Concern’s community connectors have been helping to deliver food, providing transport to appointments, supporting access to the health and housing systems, and ensuring that older people have access to all the benefits they are eligible for.
Do you have a medical alarm linked to an emergency or ambulance service? Now is a good time to check that your alarm team has up to date information in their files. Do they have the right phone numbers they can contact on your behalf?
You might want your alarm team to have your home support agency’s 24 hour, 7 day a week emergency number, in case a scheduled support worked fails to arrive.
Free healthcare for COVID-19 related illness
Treatment and health advice for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 is free. Contact your general practice or Māori or Pasifika health provider.
All other non-COVID-19 related health advice may incur usual consultation fees.
If you are not enrolled with a GP, or other health provider, or require after hours, non-emergency COVID-19 health advice, call Healthline’s COVID-19 line: 0800 358 5453. They are available 24/7.
I’ve had COVID-19 recently. Do I need to isolate again?
While you can get COVID-19 again at any time, the chance of reinfection in the 3 months after recovery is low.
You should not have another COVID-19 test for 28 days from when your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first.
After 28 days, if you get new symptoms, take a RAT. If it is positive, you will need to re-isolate, unless you are eligible for the Close Contact Exemption Scheme.
However, if someone else in your household tests positive during this time in the 3 months after you have recovered from COVID-19, you do not need to isolate.
How serious is long COVID?
While many people with COVID-19 recover completely and quickly return to normal health, others take a lot longer.
In this video, Luke Maclean-McMahon talks about his long journey back to health after COVID-19. He says that people can’t assume that being young or fit or healthy means you’ll get through it fine. “We just don’t know what your immune response will be,” he says. “Pacific Islanders are more vulnerable, Māori are more vulnerable. If you’re in one of those groups and there’s a booster that’s available for you free, just down the road or around the corner, get there and get boosted as soon as you can, don’t wait,” says Luke.
Watch Luke’s video here, and learn more about long COVID here.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading.
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Thanks for all the mahi you are doing to support Waitaha Canterbury through this challenging time. We welcome your feedback and ideas for helpful content: COVIDComms@cdhb.health.nz
Ngā mihi nui Canterbury District Health Board COVID-19 Communications Team