Information for home & community support services

COVID 19 LEVEL 4
The latest information from the Ministry of Health for organisations providing home and community support services.

22 August 2021

A reminder about operating at Alert Level 4

  • Essential personal care services, such as toileting, washing and feeding, must continue as usual.  
  • Some home help, such as house cleaning, may be available where appropriate PPE is used. 
  • Planned respite services are suspended, but urgent respite care may be provided. 
  • NGO delivered services, such as social connection, health promotion and education activities are suspended, however other non-contact ways of providing this support are encouraged, such as ZOOM or by phone.
  • Retirement Villages operate within the same restrictions as the wider community, with on-site facilities closed.
  • Aged residential care and disability residential care are essential services and must continue to be available.
  • For aged residential care, hospices and disability residential care, family visits are not permitted.
  • Where a service can be provided within alert level restrictions, the service will continue. 

The Ministry’s website has been updated with this information and can be viewed here.

Section 70 exemptions

Under Section 70 of the Health Act, any person or household member that has attended a location of interest or has been categorized as a close contact is required to isolate until they have had a negative day five COVID-19 test result.

This direction does not apply to people in roles that provide an essential health service  – that being a service provided for the purpose of assessing, improving, protecting, or managing the physical or mental health of individuals or groups of individuals, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • The person is vaccinated, having received 2 injections of the Pfizer/Biotech COVID-19 vaccine;
  • The close contact of the household member has been tested for COVID-19 following the exposure event and has received a negative result;
  • The negative test result must be from a RT-PCR test
  • No household members have symptoms of COVID-19

Failure or refusal to comply with this direction is an offence under S70 of the Health Act 1957.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment

General guidance and information for health professionals managing services during the COVID-19 response is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes gloves, gowns, eye protection, medical mask and P2/N95 particulate respirators. However not all items may need to be worn by staff – this will be dependent on the activity or interaction required.  PPE is part of a range of infection prevention and control measures including physical distancing, hand hygiene and vaccination.

Organisations eligible to order PPE through the National Supply Chain should continue to place orders through the PPE portal. Deliveries are currently expected to take 2 – 3 days to arrive after the order has been placed. Further information on PPE supply is available on our website. For clarity on supply and distribution you can email: COVID.HealthSupplyChain@health.govt.nz

For guidance on PPE, please see further information on personal protective equipment use in health and disability care settings.

Masks are mandatory

From 11.59pm on Wednesday 18 August, it became mandatory for everyone aged over 12 years old to wear a face covering when visiting essential services including healthcare facilities. It is also a requirement for staff working in those places or delivering essential services, including home and community support services, to wear a face covering.

Please see the Ministry’s Guide to Mask Wearing in Healthcare Settings for more information.

Resources

Here are some resources you may find useful:

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