With more people expected to get Omicron over the next few weeks, the country is now in phase three of how we manage this. The key changes for this phase are below, as well as an update about what this means for our practice and patients.
Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)
- RATs are now the main way to test to see if you have COVID-19. This gives you a result in around 20 minutes.
- You only need to get a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms or live with someone who has COVID-19. Or, if requested by a health official or under a mandatory testing order. The most common symptoms are a sore or scratchy throat and a runny nose.
- You can get a free RAT to do at home by yourself from one of Auckland’s 18 community testing centres. See here for locations and video instructions on how to use a RAT: www.covid19testing.nz. RATs are also now available for purchase through some retail outlets.
- If you’re not comfortable doing a RAT test on your own, you can get a free supervised RAT from us, or an urgent care clinic. Please follow booking processes on our practice’ or the urgent care clinic’s Healthpoint page: https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/.
If you, or Someone in your House, has COVID-19
If you have COVID-19, you and everyone in your house will need to isolate for 10 days. You also need to:
- Record you have COVID-19 at https://mycovidrecord.health.nz/ or call 0800 222 478 and press option 3.
- Let your contacts know you have COVID-19 – see https://covid19.health.nz/advice/positive-tell-people.
- Household contacts need to get a test on day 3 and day 10, or sooner if they develop symptoms.
Close contacts do not need to isolate. However, if they develop symptoms then they will need to get a RAT.
Recovery at Home
Most people who get Omicron are likely to have mild symptoms and will be able to isolate and recover at home, with the help of whānau and friends. Find out more here: https://covid19.health.nz/advice/positive
If you start to feel much worse, please call us or call the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453. If you’re seriously unwell, like having severe difficulties breathing or chest pains, call 111. Due to high demand at the moment, please only call 111 for emergencies.
More support is available if you need it, including with things like food and finances. Call the free COVID welfare phone line on 0800 512 337.
If you run out of your normal medication, call us to ask for a repeat prescription. Just let us know you’re home isolating and we’ll send your prescription to a participating pharmacy supporting Whānau HQ, who will deliver it for free.
Prepare for Omicron
It’s best to prepare now so you’re ready if you get COVID-19 and need to isolate. Make a plan with your whānau and if you can, stock up on food and medical supplies. You’ll find a great video to help you plan here: https://covid19.govt.nz/prepare-and-stay-safe/preparing-to-self-isolate/
If you need prescribed medication for chronic health conditions, please contact us in advance to arrange a new prescription before you really need it.
The best protection against Omicron is vaccination. Boosters are particularly important in helping to prevent you from getting very sick and being hospitalised. If you’ve not had your booster yet and are 18+ and had your second dose 3 months ago, now is the time to get this. Keep your tamariki safe too by getting them immunised against COVID-19. [Please call us to make a booking. We have specified vaccination days. Note: Onewa Doctors is stopping their Covid vaccination clinics at the end of the month to prepare for the Flu vaccinations*] or [See here for your local community vaccination centre: https://immunisation.northernregion.health.nz/getting-vaccinated/where-to-get-vaccinated/ ]
What Phase 3 Means for Our Practice and Patients
We want to reassure you, we are still operating but all consultations will start with a phone consult and it is the doctors’ discretion if they want to see you face to face and may book you again at a later time during the day. Please note that normal consultation fees apply.
To help us, please use the online resources mentioned above or call the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 in the first instance, if you have mild Omicron symptoms. However, if your medical situation gets worse please contact us immediately.
We will continue to work hard to make sure patients are seen in a timely manner but please be patient and kind to staff if you experience delays. Remember, if it’s an emergency, call 111.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.