COVID-19 information to support members
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March the situation has been changing rapidly. We will endeavour to keep you up to date with the latest advice as quickly as possible. In the meantime keep yourselves and your whānau safe and follow any official Government advice given on the official website www.covid19.govt.nz
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is clear that employers must ensure the health and safety of their employees but it also places obligations on employees to ensure the wellbeing of themselves and others. This page provides links to information useful to midwives. If you have concerns about employment-related issues arising from COVID-19, please contact us.
You are encouraged to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest infection control recommendations and guidelines. The COVID-19 situation in New Zealand is evolving and we are still learning. The links and documents will be updated regularly as more is learned.
The Ministry of Health is requiring those who have returned from overseas within the past two weeks to self-isolate for 14 days. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has symptoms, phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453.
Health and disability services at Alert Level 2
At Alert Level 2, there will be some differences in how we access health and disability services. These are summarised on the MOH website here.
Update on information for community based midwives, please note this includes the new risk assessment questions
Updated information for pregnant women
Update on information for radiologists on community-based maternity ultrasound
The Ministry of Health have developed and updated a number of resources related to Infection Prevention and Control and PPE which can be found here
Frequently Asked Questions (15 May 2020).
Updated advice on recommendations for the use of nitrous oxide/Entonox: Please note the Ministry of Health’s advice has changed to offering Entonox to COVID-19 confirmed or suspected women as long as the appropriate PPE is worn.
Recommendations for the use of Nitrous oxide/Entonox for labour analgesia during the COVID-19 pandemic – 24 April 2020
Recommendations for health professionals and whanau on handling of the whenua/placenta for COVID confirmed or suspected women
This advice is on the MOH’s COVID-19 Maternity page but is linked in the pregnancy page as well so women and whānau can easily find it.
SUDI risk under Covid 19 – Published 22 April 2020
Letter about Masks and asymptomatic transmission from clinicians at Hutt Valley District Health Board & Capital & Coast District Health Board -3 April 2020 [note the date on the letter is a typo]
Guidance on PPE
Ministry of Health advice on PPE:
- Guidelines For Personal Protective Equipment Use In Health Care Settings Including Care Provided In Homes – 25 April 2020
- Frequently asked questions about PPE – 25 April 2020
- PPE requirement in maternity settings for prevention of COVID-19 (PDF, 197 KB) – 20 April 2020
- Guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers (PDF, 181 KB), (Word, 270 KB) – 7 April 2020
The above links will take you directly to these documents on the MOH website. If the above links to specific documents do not work they may have been updated very recently (this is a rapidly evolving area). You can find all the latest MOH advice on PPE here: Personal protective equipment use in health care
Update 9 April: The Government has agreed to help ensure essential workers can access care and supervision for their children. The Ministry of Education initially engaged with three of the largest home-based providers, who to date have facilitated care for approximately 700 children, across 400 families, where alternative caring arrangements couldn’t be made. Cabinet has agreed to expand the scheme to other home-based providers. To support this MoE have reached out to the wider home-based sector and to date 12 additional providers have expressed an interest in assisting.
To further support essential workers to find care and supervision, MoE have established a dedicated team within the Ministry of Education to help broker care for them. If there is an essential worker that has not been able to access care for their child/children, the essential worker can contact the Ministry via ECE.Info@education.govt.nz (Please note: this mailbox may differ to previous advice.). MoE will then make arrangements for a home-based provider to contact the essential worker.
MERAS and other unions have been working with the District Health Boards to agree a consistent approach to leave arrangements arising from the spread of COVID-19, including payment in the event that you or your family require self-isolation. These are the current guidelines below and we will advise members if any changes are made: COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Employee Related General FAQs (All DHBs) – UPDATED as at 1600hrs 17 April
Counties Manukau Advice “What is the chance my patient has COVID-19?” – 15 April 2020
COVID-19 National Hospital Response Framework – This document provides high level, nationally consistent guidance to support your DHBs’ own emergency response procedures that will need to be deployed at each level. These escalation levels are specifically for hospitals and are different to the Pandemic Plan Levels and the National Alert Levels (announced by the Prime Minister on 21 March 2020) but are aligned.
Occupational Health Assessment Framework for Vulnerable Workers
National guidance for the assessment of COVID-19 vulnerable or at-risk workers has been produced. This guidance [published 23 March] has been developed by occupational health physicians from across New Zealand, and with input from senior medical officers from infection prevention and control; infectious diseases; and microbiology.
3. COVID-19 DHB Occupational Health Assessment Tool for Vulnerable Workers 27 March 2020 v2.0 – NB: The revised advice contains new guidance for pregnancy [page 11] and for those aged 70 and over [page 11].
DHB staff should receive email updates from your local DHB notifying you of the steps they’re taking to identify and protect staff at risk from COVID-19 exposure. You will need to refer to your DHB self-assessment tool for further guidance.
Other helpful information:
– the above page should have everything New Zealanders need to know about COVID-19 in one place