Mon. May 23rd, 2022


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Covid-19 coronavirus community case: What would a lockdown mean for medical care?

2 min read

A top doctor says if the community Covid case is revealed to be the Delta variant then the response will be need to be dealt with “very swifty” – which could mean tight restrictions for medical care.

“We have seen what has happened in Australia, I think officials would be taking it very seriously at this point, especially if they can’t identify where the case came from,” Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners medical director Bryan Betty said.

His comments come after Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins warned last week to expect an alert level 4 lockdown if any Delta cases emerged in the community.

The last 79 cases detected in MIQ facilities in this country have all involved Delta.

What will this mean for medical care?

Betty said if the country was to move into an alert level three or four lockdown then general practices would move into a predominantly virtual consultation model.

“Patients would be required to ring up prior to coming to see their GP, very similar to what we saw during last year’s lockdown. Those patients who need to be seen in person will be,” he said.

If it’s level two, Betty said it almost be “business as usual”, but it would be crucial for patients with any cold or flu symptoms to phone ahead.

Midwives union MERA’s co-leader Caroline Canroy said midwives were “well seasoned” and “all geared up” to transition their practise if there was a change in Covid alert levels.

She said most hospitals maternity wards already had visitor limitations in place due to RSV.

A level four lockdown would mean midwives would be required to wear PPE and thorough screening would be used so vulnerable midwives weren’t caring for women with potential Covid, she said.

“Video appointments would be more common but that didn’t mean face-to-face meetings couldn’t happen where required.”

The head of the doctor’s union, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, Sarah Dalton said she hadn’t received any advice from hospitals yet but would assume the usual precautions would apply like social distancing and staying away unless urgent.

This afternoon it was revealed that a positive case of Covid-19 had been identified in the Auckland community and was under investigation.

The link between the case and the border or managed isolation is yet to be established.

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