As you know COVID 19 is a viral infection that many people around the world and in New Zealand have had in the past seven months. Unfortunately some of these people have died from this infection. In New Zealand we have had 1575 cases, of whom 1523 have recovered and 22 had died. All of those who have died have had other serious health concerns as well as this infection. While we did have active cases elsewhere in New Zealand there were no cases in our local region of Horowhenua.
Every year in New Zealand we have a “flu season” and we encourage as many people as possible to have the annual immunisation to help them build immunity in anticipation of this. We do this because we know it is likely most people will get a cold or even influenza during the colder winter months. All of the staff at Lonsdale Education Centre have had their immunisations this year.
Overview of our COVID 19 process
While being aware of the local, national and international trends in COVID incidence, practice and prevention we have maintained a strict policy of regular surface cleaning, hand washing, social distancing and following the government guidelines set out for the prevention of COVID transmission. We have done this since the initial phases of the disease progression and continued to do so even when we had no cases for over 100 days.
Information about candidates’ arrival and isolation process
Before our internationally qualified nurses arrive from working overseas they have met the standard set by Immigration NZ to be granted a critical purpose visa based upon their purpose as essential health workers. After they get off the plane they immediately enter 14 days of government managed isolation. During that time they are tested twice on days three and twelve and are given a certificate proving they are COVID negative when they leave the facility. They will happily share this document with you, while remembering it is technically their private medical information. We keep a copy as well and have their permission to show it to any persons who need to see it.
After the nurses finish their isolation they come to our testing centre in Foxton and then to their placements in clinical areas around the regions. Currently we do not have any sites in Auckland. They do not move between facilities and are well prepared in their understanding of New Zealand’s expectations about how to prevent the transmission of any infection including COVID-19. They are experienced nurses and part of New Zealand’s essential workforce.
When the nurses come into facilities to complete their clinical placement we can guarantee they are COVID negative and understand how vulnerable older people are to infections. We find that usually they are the most careful about managing risk and are very compliant with following protocols and following specific rules. One of the reasons for this is that in their culture they deeply respect those in authority and trust whatever instructions they are given without questioning them. They also have often had experience in managing nursing care while coping with a population wide epidemics such as TB, measles, or HIV. We feel assured that they have at least, and often more experience, than nurses who have only worked in New Zealand in these matters. This was shown when our local health board asked for all of them to work on placement in the hospital when the last level four restriction was in place.