Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update - Wednesday 9 March 2022

Local Government Response Unit main page

Today’s update:

New Zealand is currently in Phase Three of the Omicron Management Strategy, and in the Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework.

Changes to Covid Isolation duration

 The government has announced changes to the time periods you will need to isolate for cases and household contacts will change from 10 to seven days.

This change will come into effect at 11:59 Friday 11 March

Household contacts will need to have a rapid antigen test (RAT) at day three and day seven of their isolation period. If they become symptomatic they should also get a test, and if they test positive, they should isolate for seven days from that point.

A reminder about business continuity planning and essential workers

As the number of cases continue to rise, there is likely to be continuing pressure on councils and organisations as staff are required to isolate either due to infection or household contact.

It is important that Councils rely on their business continuity planning and use of the ‘Close Contact Exemption Scheme’ for household contacts who are essential workers.

 A reminder about vaccinations and boosters 

 The best way to protect form Omicron is through vaccination, it is important to stress to communities the need for boosters for people who have had their second vaccine more than three months ago as well as the importance of vaccinations for 5- 11-year olds.

The Ministry of Health has provided information that can be shared by Councils as part of the big boost campaign

In Phase Three

At phase three the system moves into increasingly self-management of COVID-19 with increased reliance on self-reporting and changes to who needs to self-isolate.

Councils should be focussing on strong infection control process and measures (masks and distancing) especially as close contacts will no longer need to self-isolate.

Close contacts are not required to self-isolate under phase three. As such, they will no longer use the close contact exemption scheme or have the same use for RATs.

Household contacts who live in the same house as infected cases will still be required to self-isolate.

Because household contacts are required by law to self-isolate they can use the close contact exemption scheme to return to work if they are asymptomatic and meet the requirements of the scheme (i.e. are critical workers)

Additional information can be found at the Unite Against Covid website. If you need health advice contact your normal health provider such as your GP or ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453

Assistance and support available should you or your staff need to isolate

The Care in the Community approach aims to assist people with COVID-19 through the illness and reduce the risk of transmission.

Most people will be able to manage self-isolation with help from friends and whānau, however for those who require extra support if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating - there is help available.

MSD also has a range of financial assistance through the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment which local government staff can apply for if they are required to isolate and miss work