CMO News 22 February 2022

It is my privilege to be returning to Counties Manukau Health to serve our community as the Chief Medical Officer. I re-join the team after a year on secondment as Chief Medical Officer for the Ministry of Health. It is a pleasure to be back to work with the highly skilled, caring and committed Counties Manukau Health teams.

We continue to experience an increase in Omicron cases in our community and while we are under pressure the system is managing. The hospital is safe and ready to care for those who need our help.

As expected, Omicron is spreading rapidly and for people who are fully vaccinated and have had their booster shot, most will simply need to isolate at home and have time off work or school. Please continue to be diligent with handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing and follow the Ministry of Health advice. Vaccination remains the key defence to becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19 related illnesses.

We continue to work to protect our workforce and have available Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) kits for our critical workforce. N95 masks are mandatory for staff in high risk areas and they are used in some other areas including outpatient clinics depending on the nature and associated risk of infection.  

If you have an appointment for one of our clinics or health services, please ensure you keep that appointment unless you need to isolate and cannot attend in person. Where it is clinically safe our teams have established virtual consultations to help minimise disruption to the health care for our patients during this pandemic.  

Please follow your health care plans and make sure you have adequate prescriptions and supply of your medications as part of your own personal plan to prepare for contracting COVID-19.   

We will all need to isolate at home if we are told to do so. There is support available for those who are concerned about caring for children, older people or people with disabilities while isolating at home. Please call the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for access to the support that is available.

Now that the COVID-19 vaccination is available to children 5 years and older, we encourage parents and caregivers to check their tamariki are up to date with routine vaccinations and immunisations. Our teams welcome the opportunity to provide protection to all children against COVID-19 and other preventable illnesses like Measles that can be life threatening to our young whaanau.

If you have cold like symptoms please stay home, monitor your symptoms and call your GP, Medical Centre or Healthline if anything changes. If you are critically unwell, please come to hospital.

Kia noho haumaru. Keep safe.

Dr Andrew Connolly
Chief Medical Officer

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