Dear member / clinic,

Quick reference guide
The MoH’s updated primary care quick reference guide for Covid19 can be found here
It includes updated advice on use of PPE, testing guidelines, and preventing spread.
Please also refer to RNZCUC’s advice on preventing airborne spread, per earlier emails. To add, when seeing a patient in a car, in addition to full PPE, we advise asking for the car windows opposite the patient to be opened first, to allow any viral particles to be vented.

Vulnerable doctors and staff
Our previous advice on suitability for frontline duties derives from old CDC guidelines, which accords with the literature on comorbidities seen with Covid 19.
We note also RNZCGP guidelines, based on occupational physicians’ recommendations, and current CDC guidelines, which now also emphasise health equity and ethnicity.

As a College, we don’t see it as our place to decide which staff should or should not be on frontline duties. Individuals can not be forced to work, and their wish to serve, perception of risk and willingness to assume risk will vary.

We continue to recommend that frontline doctors and staff who are susceptible to severe illness from Covid-19 be moved to non-contact functions when there is significant community spread.
Non-contact functions could include providing virtual triage and virtual consultations, or helping with logistics.
Staff who might be in this category should provide certification from their own doctor.
The former CDC guidelines on vulnerable groups includes:
  • People aged 65 years and older
  • (People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility)
Other high-risk conditions could include:
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have heart disease with complications
  • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
  • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
  • People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk.
MoH vaccination circulars
Attached are some “key messages and some reactive Q & As” which the MoH has asked us to circulate.
Click here to view

With best wishes,

David Gollogly, Jasmine Mackay, Richard Chen, Kelvin Ward
Pandemic Response Subcommittee