| 27 Apr 2020

Planning is underway at the South Canterbury DHB for the return of more planned care surgeries and outpatient appointments, as we move from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3. There will be a phased approach as we adapt to the new world of COVID-19.

We thank the community for your patience and understanding, while we work through the new guidelines for alert level 3. We need to look at alternative ways of working in order to increase capacity safely.

Our thoughts are with the people who have had services postponed due to COVD-19. We will be contacting patients directly to reschedule appointments and surgeries over the coming weeks.

We expect our planned care to increase slowly day by day, however by postponing planned care at alert level 4, our health system will be very busy for the next few months.

Patient safety is paramount at the South Canterbury DHB:

  • Current screening measures will remain in place for all patients and visitors
  • Physical distancing and other safety measures must be maintained to ensure physical distancing of patients
  • We have reviewed our visitor policy for Alert level 3.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the South Canterbury community who are doing the right thing and staying home. You have all played a role in helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in South Canterbury and helped save lives.

At Alert Level 3, we will need to be even more vigilant because more people will be circulating in South Canterbury. We must stick to the rules, continue to reduce contact and keep breaking the chain of transmission. Continue to practice good health etiquette – washing hands for 20 seconds and drying them well, sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face.

COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

As we move from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3, the South Canterbury DHB will adopt the below visitor restrictions:

  • Visiting hours - 2pm-8pm
  • One visitor from the patients extended bubble can visit, once a day, from the 28 April 2020, with a few notable exceptions.

The exceptions include:

  • Two support partners from the patients extended bubble for the duration of a birth
  • Family visits at Talbot Park, D6 residential unit, when supporting a terminal patient through end of life care.

The decision about whether exceptional circumstances apply is at the Charge Nurse Manager’s or another lead clinician’s discretion.

At all times, where a visitor is allowed to access the hospital, appropriate screening will take place before they are allowed to enter the care environment to ensure they are well and have practiced hand hygiene.

These measures are to ensure the safety of patients and staff by minimising avoidable contact and the potential for spread.

The full visitor’s policy can be found at www.scdhb.health.nz/info-for-you/timaru-hospital/visitors.

How to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19

South Canterbury DHB continues to remind the public that the best way they can help with the COVID-19 response is to:

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds) and dry thoroughly
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell (stay at least 2 metres away)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid personal contact with sick people, such as kissing and sharing cups or food
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs
  • Stay home if you feel unwell
  • Practice low-touch shopping. Do not handle things you are not buying, keep your distance, be aware of how you are touching things like bank cards, money, ATMs and Eftpos machines. Wash your hands after touching things like this as soon as you can.

Practice Physical Distancing

  • Keep two metres physical distance from people who are not in your bubble. Practice this when you’re using essential services such as supermarkets
  • We are all in this together and it is important as a community we remember to be kind to each other, and to check up on friends, family and neighbours, by using the phone, online messaging, or just chatting over the fence while following the physical distancing guidelines of a safe two-metre distance.

Media contact:

Karen Berry
Communications Manager
South Canterbury District Health Board
P: 03 687 2395 | M: 021 139 7442