Today 288 COVID-19 cases are isolating at households across Auckland, as part of the next step in the region’s COVID-19 community management.
“As Auckland transitions from an elimination approach to COVID-19 to a suppression strategy, it is important to establish low-risk ways to create higher capacity for isolation,” says Northern Region Health Coordination Centre Lead (and Counties Manukau Health CEO) Fepulea'i Margie Apa. “The home isolation model is one of our first steps towards how we will sustainably manage COVID-19 cases in the future.”
Under the home isolation model, people who test positive for COVID-19 are allowed to isolate at home when they have been assessed as safe to do so by a Medical Officer of Health, and their home situation has been deemed appropriate.
They receive tele-health check-ins by staff at Healthline. Health indicators are checked, as well as general welfare questions to determine if a person requires assistance or clarification on how to proceed if the household has questions or concerns. All households will receive a pulse oximeter device with instructions on how to use it to help with monitoring health.
Criteria for isolating at home is based on a public health risk assessment and takes into consideration a number of factors, including whether cases:
- Live in a residence that allows them and their household to isolate safely away from others,
- Have phone and internet access,
- Can use their own transport to safely access a testing centre,
- Would like to, and feel safe to be considered for home isolation,
- Have supplies to enable them to isolate at home safely i.e. masks, food, cleaning products,
- Understand the isolation period for contacts in the household will be a further 14 days once the last case in the household has recovered.
If a person or household’s ability to meet these criteria change at any time, then public health reassess the suitability of home isolation for the case or their contacts.
Alongside this, NRHCC and primary care clinical leaders are working together on the model, including work to ensure General Practices continue non-COVID related care for their patients.
“Home isolation also offers us a reliable way to safely discharge COVID-19 cases who no longer require hospital care,” says Fepulea'i Margie Apa. “When COVID-19 cases have completed their hospital care, they are assessed to determine the safest destination on a case by case basis – either into MIQ or home isolation.”
Patients who have presented and are known to be COVID positive can complete a risk assessment to determine their suitability for home isolation on discharge from hospital. Any patients in hospital who were referred from MIQ facilities will be discharged back to that MIQ facility. If patients are assessed as not suitable for home isolation, or they do not want to isolate at home, they will be transferred to an MIQ facility.