has a very important role in providing community-based care during this Omicron outbreak. Here is some simple advice to help ease the pressure on them and enable GP teams to focus on providing the right care to the right people.
This information is intended for employers and could reduce the load on General Practice, avoid creating stress among employees and enable employers to have their staff available to work as much as possible, safely.
The dominant strain of COVID-19 in New Zealand is Omicron. Delta is very rare/ virtually non-existent at the moment. For most people who are fully vaccinated and don’t have underlying health conditions (respiratory or heart disease for example), they will generally have mild symptoms and recover well at home.
Symptoms can include one or more of the following: a new or worsening cough, sneezing and runny nose, a fever, temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste, a sore throat, or shortness of breath.
There are less-common symptoms, but the ones above are the main ones to look out for.
RAT tests have replaced PCR testing as the principle testing tool. While they aren’t quite as accurate (80 percent, depending on the user), they are almost instant.
A negative result can also provide a high degree of confidence that it is safe for an employee to return to work - providing the standard public health measures are used – wearing a mask if required or as you see fit, distancing and good hand hygiene.
The Ministry of Health wants us all to record test results, including RATs, on My COVID Record. It is an important part of being able to track the course of the outbreak accurately. As well as My COVID Record, there is an 0800 number to phone them in, for those that are unable to access their My COVID Record or who don’t have one.
Almost as important, entering a positive result online will connect you with the supports you or your whānau might need while isolating – including how to obtain essential supplies.
If you have COVID-19 you must self-isolate for 7 days.
Day 0 is the day your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first.
Household Contacts do not need to isolate.
If you are a Household Contact, you should test daily for 5 days with a rapid antigen test (RAT) from the day the person with COVID-19 tested positive.
Wear a face mask if you leave your home during your 5 days of testing.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 7 days.
You are a Household Contact if you live with, or spend a night with someone who has COVID-19. We recommend you test daily for 5 days with a rapid antigen test.
There is no need for people that test positive for COVID-19 or who have been identified as a household contact (i.e. live with someone who has COVID-19) to get a medical certificate.
Neither a medical certificate or a negative test is needed to show a new employee doesn’t have COVID-19 – unless it is the employer’s own policy, in which case they should provide a RAT.
There is also no need for a medical certificate to show that a person is ready to return to work. However, employees who have reason to use a RAT do need to keep their employer informed and record their results on their My COVID Record.
The Close Contact Exemption Scheme for critical workers has ended.
Page last updated: 14 April 2023
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