11/06/2020 4:57:37 p.m.

Friday 12 June 2020 

Now that we are at Alert Level 1, the visitor restrictions of recent months as part of COVID-19 emergency management practices are no longer required. 

However, it’s still important to keep in mind that COVID-19 is uncontrolled in many areas overseas, and we should not be complacent because COVID-19 can spread quickly if it re-emerges. It is essential that we all remain vigilant and continue to follow public health advice regarding hygiene to reduce the risk of undetected community transmission.
Hospital services will be running as normal under Alert Level 1. That means that in the Lakes DHB area Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals have now returned to the standard visiting hours of 10am-8pm daily. But some precautions will be in place to protect people who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 from exposure to the virus. 

This will include:

• strict adherence to infection prevention and control protocols

• screening of all patients where staff may ask you if you have been overseas recently, had contact with anyone who has been overseas recently, or had any potential recent exposure to COVID-19 such as being a close contact of a confirmed or probable case.

• Visitors to patients in hospital who are tested for COVID-19 may be required to wear PPE.

Lakes DHB supports the government’s visiting arrangement key principles as follows: 

• While there are no physical distancing requirements at Alert Level 1, the more space there is between you and others, the harder it is for the COVID-19 virus, and other viruses (e.g. the common cold or influenza) to spread.
• Visitors are important for patients’ recovery, but so is rest, so a balance is important
• We need to help keep each other safe. Look after your own health and look after our health workers and patients by avoiding overcrowding and ensuring that we can maintain an appropriate distance from each other, in the hospital setting.
• It will sometimes be necessary for our staff to limit visitor numbers in order to keep everyone safe. We may limit visitors in order to support high quality patient care – for example visitors may be restricted during doctors’ ward rounds.
• If you are unwell, stay home.
• Follow the good hygiene principles: wash your hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow 

Patients and visitors to Lakes DHB sites, who have downloaded the NZ COVID Tracer App, are now able to use it to keep a record of Lakes DHB sites they have visited. 

Lakes DHB is displaying QR code posters throughout Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals, dental and community clinics. 

The posters include unique QR codes for Lakes District Health Board facilities, which patients and visitors can scan using the app. The app will log and track that they have visited that location at a specific date and time.
The Ministry of Health has developed the NZ COVID Tracer App to help the public log and track which businesses and organisations they have visited, and who they have come in contact with. The Ministry of Health is encouraging as many people as possible to download the app – it will support contact tracing efforts now we have moved to Alert Level 1. 

Faster and more effective contact tracing is an essential part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
While use of the NZ COVID Tracer is voluntary, using it can help protect your friends, whānau and community by enabling faster contact tracing. What’s important is to keep a record of where you’ve been and people you’ve seen in case a contact tracer needs to get in touch. 

The NZ COVID Tracer app is the official government contact tracing app. More information about the app, including how personal information is used, is available on the Ministry of Health