COVID-19 - Information for people we support and whānau
18 March 2020
This information is also available in Easy Read in our resources section.
As you are aware the Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19 has recently been declared a global pandemic. The Ministry of Health advises that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.
This document has been prepared to give you and your whānau information about how CCS Disability Action is preparing and responding so we can continue to support you as best we can if things change. It also outlines what we need from you to help us do that. As the COVID-19 landscape is changing every day, advice from the Ministry of Health is also subject to change, so we may need to also change how we respond and manage this situation. Please keep in touch with your Service Coordinator and check this site regularly for updates.
CCS Disability Action supports over 5000 people, and many of these people have health issues or compromised immune systems that may make them more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. You may be one of these people or a family member which makes you of priority concern for us. Please let your Coordinator know if you have specific vulnerability concerns so we can help you plan ahead to protect yourself and your family. We have been updating our pandemic and emergency response plans in recent weeks and are actively monitoring advice from the Ministry of Health and have an emergency management team in place so we can respond as needed.
Even though the current chances of a community level outbreak are considered low, we have to plan for worst case scenarios based on what we have seen happen in other countries. So in order to protect the health of you, your family, our staff and the wider community it is important that we know of any known COVID-19 risks or exposure as soon as possible.
What you need to do:
Keep informed about COVID-19.
Practice good hygiene and cough etiquette
Advise your Service Coordinator by phone as soon as possible if either you, your whānau or household members:
- have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
- have recently been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or
- are self-isolating due to travel or exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
It is important that you inform us about any overseas travel or possible COVID-19 exposure so we can manage any risks. Health and care providers are currently the two most at-risk groups for infection. If one of our community support workers has to self-isolate due to exposure to someone who has travelled, they will not be able to provide support to other disabled people and their families for 14 days. This is the kind of outcome we are trying to avoid. So please let your Service Coordinator know as soon as possible if you fall into any of the above risk categories. The Service Coordinator will advise the Service Manager and General Manager and they will come up with a plan to manage your safety as well as that of our staff. It is possible that in these situations, we may need to temporarily stop support to reduce risk not only to our staff, but to others in the disability community who may be at high risk of complications of COVID-19 infection.
If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in the community or schools are closed as a preventative measure, we may have a high number of staff absences and this may limit the number of support workers and others who provide support to you and your family. During an outbreak or possible staff shortages we will prioritise support to those people whose support is essential and who are most reliant on our services.
Depending on where you sit in terms of vulnerability to the virus, dependence on service supply and ability to get support from family members, this may mean that your supports could be temporarily suspended and you will need to be self-reliant or organise care from family and friends during this time. None of this will happen without planning and forethought and we will of course do the very best we can to ensure it never reaches this stage, but we must responsibly plan ahead for worst case scenarios and have these conversations with you.
Your Service Coordinator will be in contact with you regularly during this time and will discuss and make a plan with you about how you could support and care for yourself if we are unable to provide service at any time during this pandemic. Following this discussion, we will update your My-Plan regarding emergency care.
For the mean time we will continue to provide your support as normal and keep you updated if there are any significant changes that affect how we support you. Please feel free to talk to your Coordinator about all of these matters. We are living through a unique and uncertain time but please be assured that your welfare and wellbeing is our highest priority and we will continue to offer every assistance that we can to you and your whānau.
If you have any questions about how we are preparing for or responding to the COVID-19 virus please get in touch.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are simple steps you can take to protect you and your family/whānau.
How is it spread?
COVID-19, like the flu, can be spread from person to person. When a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus a short distance, which quickly settle on surrounding surfaces. You may get infected by the virus if you touch those surfaces or objects and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands, and use good cough etiquette.
COVID-19 can cause respiratory infection ranging from mild to severe. 80 per cent of infected people experience a mild to moderate illness, for example, fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease) are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza. Having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19.
- difficulty breathing
Difficulty breathing is serious and may be a sign of pneumonia, requiring immediate medical attention.
It can take between two to 14 days to become unwell.
There is currently no vaccination for COVID-19.
Prevention and simple tips to stay well
Because of the way the virus spreads, it’s really important to practice good hygiene.
Here are some simple tips to take to stop the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu:
- Wash and dry hands regularly. Wash hands using water and soap for 20 seconds. Then dry hands for 20 seconds:
- Before eating or handling food
- After using the toilet
- After coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses
- After caring for sick people
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
- Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs
- Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses
- Stay away from work, school or large gatherings if you are sick
As at 16 March 2020, people returning from overseas (with the exception of the Pacific Islands) are required to self-isolate for 14 days following their return.
The Ministry of Health advises that self-isolation is one of the most effective ways we have of keeping individuals, families and our communities safe and healthy and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The travel information is subject to change so please check the Ministry of Health website for updated information.
Exposure to Covid-19
If you have been in contact with someone with a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 you may need to self-isolate. Contact the Healthline for more information.
Call Healthline 24/7 on 0800 358 5453 if you need to speak to someone.
Visit www.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus for more information.
COVID-19 Alert Levels (PDF 50 KB)
What is Coronavirus and COVID-19 Easy Read ( 4.1 MB)
COVID-19 and self isolation Easy Read ( 3.9 MB)
What to do if you think you have COVID-19 Easy Read ( 2.2 MB)
Information for people coming into NZ from overseas Easy Read ( 3.1 MB)