Accessing Health and Disability Support Services During Alert Level 3
Here is a useful summary of what's best when accessing health care support during Alert Level 3. Please also see the resources section for an Easy Read explanation of travel, under Level 3.
- Stay in your household bubbles whenever you are not at work, school, buying the groceries or exercising.
- Follow the Alert level 3 directions.
- Call your Family Doctor (GP) to:
- Get your child's immunisations up-to-date.
- Get your influenza immunisation done safely (your local community pharmacist can also do this for you).
Do you need testing or care?
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to many other illnesses (like influenza) and do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19.
The symptoms can include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Loss of smell
- Shortness of breath. (This could be a sign of pneumonia and you should seek immediate medical attention).
If you have any of these symptoms:
- Call your local Family Doctor (GP) or health provider or
- Call Healthline, 0800 358 5453 for health advice (Press Option #1 to get an interpreter) or
- Go to a COVID-19 Community Based Assessment Centres (CBAC).
Based on your symptoms, recent travel or exposure to others with COVID symptoms, your family doctor (GP), Healthline or health provider will advise you if you need to leave the house for safe testing.
If you need to access other care, call your health service first. GPs are open for business. Call them if you are sick or have any health concerns
Planned care in hospital
Strong measures are in place to keep you safe in our hospitals. Most appointments will continue to be carried out by phone and video. Patients who have a current hospital appointment should attend unless we contact you to say otherwise.
Check your DHB’s website or Facebook for information.
Call 111, OR go to your nearest hospital Emergency Department (ED). ED is open.
Disability Support Services
CCS Disability Action branches remain closed to the public, but we continue to offer disability support, information and advocacy, just in a different way.
Disabled Person's Assembly NZ has put together a great summary of what Level 3 means for disabled New Zealanders and their whanau.
In short, it's not that different to Level 4! But we do hope that the slight easing of restrictions will make life feel a little easier for you.
Q. Am I more at risk of Covid-19 and should I be more careful?
A. Some people are more likely to get very sick if they get Covid-19. Health problems that make COVID-19 more dangerous include a weak immune system, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes mellitus, pregnant people or those on immunosuppressant medications.
If you have one of these health conditions you need to be extra careful to protect yourself against getting COVID-19. You may need to keep following the Alert Level 4 rules to keep yourself safe. If you are not sure if you have one of these health conditions, or what activities outside the home might be safe for you given your individual health circumstances, you can call your GP or Healthline for advice
Q. What happens if my workplace is reopening and I'm asked to go back to work but I am more at risk of getting very ill if I get Covid-19?
A. Your employer is still able to apply for support to cover your wages while you stay home through the Essential Workers Leave Support scheme during Level 3.
Eligibility criteria include: Workers who have serious health conditions themselves, or in their household, that put them at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, and who agree with their employer that they will not work for an agreed period.
See: Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme
Q. Will Total Mobility still be free?
A. Total Mobility trips will continue to be free for clients up to the regional fare subsidy cap while New Zealand is at Covid-19 alert levels 3 and 4, up until 30 June 2020.
This fare policy applies for any travel that is allowed under the current alert level restrictions.
For example, during Alert Level 3 if you are going back to work or school, accessing a local business or service that is now open, visiting someone who you have an extended bubble arrangement with, or attending a funeral, tangihanga or wedding ceremony, your Total Mobility trip will be free up to the regional fare subsidy cap.
The fare policy may be reviewed before June 30 if the COVID-19 alert is reduced to levels 1 or 2.
For more information contact your local Total Mobility provider.
Q. Will my disability supports change during Alert Level 3?
A. There will be little change to disability to support during Alert Level 3.
One change is for people living in residential care facilities. During Alert Level 4, there were no visitors allowed because everyone had to stay in their bubble. During Alert Level 3 some visitors will be allowed in the extended bubble. There can only be one person visiting at a time. People with Covid-19, or suspected Covid-19 cannot visit.
Disabled people, families, whānau, aiga and disability providers need to discuss and agree together who can visit, and what everyone needs to do to keep that bubble safe. The extended bubble should not have too many people in it.
Home management support (eg. house cleaning) that was stopped during Alert Level 4 may resume as a limited service depending on individual circumstances (eg. where not providing this service would place you at risk and the services can be provided safely).
Support services for people with personal budgets, Individualised Funding and Enhanced Individualised Funding remain largely the same, including the increased flexibility to employ family members you live with to provide disability support to you. However, it seems that there is a change to how stand down leave is paid - please check with your service provider or IF host.
Day services and facility-based respite remain closed.