What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus.
The outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. There are now cases reported in many other countries, including New Zealand, which are being monitored closely by WHO.
Preventing the spread of COVID-19
COVID-19 is spread from an infected person to others through:
- the air by coughing and sneezing
- close personal contact – such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
Some groups of people are more at risk of serious illness, such as the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and those with other health conditions. It is therefore important to minimise the spread of the virus in the community.
What is SCIP doing to help keep people safe?
- SCIP operates as part of the health sector and we have a responsibility to staff, patients, and our community to keep people safe. Many of the patients that we see, including older patients and patients with other conditions, may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and we are mindful of this.
- We are now routinely asking visitors who do not have a scheduled appointment to sign-in to our Wellington and Christchurch clinics.
- At entrance ways we have signs asking people to stop and check if they have travelled overseas in the last 14 days.
- We may ask you details about any recent travel history as well as any ‘flu like symptoms (temperature, cough, or difficulty breathing).
- If you are not well, please do not travel to our clinics – advise us via the normal channels and we will re-schedule any appointment.
- We will be adding to our usual appointment letters and reminders, a notice about COVID-19 and that you should not travel to clinic if you are unwell.
- We have posted signs encouraging recommended hygiene practices such as handwashing and/or use of hand-sanitiser where appropriate, coughing etiquette, sneezing, and appropriate disposal of tissues.
- If when you arrive you are unwell we may decline to see you and ask you to re-book your appointment when you have recovered
As the situation with COVID-19 changes, we will provide people further advice.
Where to get information
The Ministry of Health website is your best source of information because it is updated daily. The Ministry of Health also have a Facebook page: @minhealthnz and a Twitter channel @minhealthnz to alert people to key updates and messages specifically about COVID-19.
Free dedicated COVID-19 Healthline number 0800 358 5453
This Healthline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People calling that line will be able to talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service. They have access to interpreters. You should call this dedicated number for any COVID-19 health advice and information, any questions you have about COVID-19 or need information about self-isolation.