Information for COVID-19 Positive Patients

Testing positive for COVID-19 can be worrying, and it’s normal to feel unsure about what this means for you, your whānau and the people you live with.  However, we expect the greater majority of Covid-19 patients to have a mild illness and be able to manage at home without needing to see a doctor in person.

Please have a look through the information below, and in particular explore  the “helpful links” at the end.  Nearly all the answers to your questions can be found online. As the numbers of Omicron ramp up, we expect to become very busy and we’d like to keep our phone lines and services as free as possible for those needing extra help.

REMEMBER AT ANY TIME IF YOU ARE UNWELL OR DETERIORATING, PLEASE CALL 111 and tell the operator that you have COVID.  There is no cost to use an ambulance for patients with Covid-19.

Please find below information on:

  • COVID -19 Expected Illness
  • Managing at home/ Being Covid prepared.
  • Health Monitoring for patients isolating at home
  • Self Isolation for Covid positive and close contact patients
  • Who to tell about your diagnosis
  • Pharmacy services while in Home Isolation
  • If you feel you are not coping
  • Helpful Websites and Links


COVID -19 Expected Illness

We expect the vast majority of patients with Covid-19 to have a mild illness that they can self-manage at home. Many patients will not have any symptoms at all.  Some people may have more serious symptoms, which can happen at any stage in the illness. Please reach out to us here at GMC if you feel you are deteriorating, or need extra help.  After hours you can contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453.  At anytime if you feel you are becoming more seriously unwell, please contact 111.

The easiest way to reach us at GMC is either by emailing [email protected] or by leaving a message on the nurses answerphone. Please do not wait on hold. Our messages are cleared very regularly.

NB: Even if you have a mild COVID-19 infection, please avoid running, workouts, weights and high impact activities until you are well again.

Day 1-3: Symptoms in the first three days vary widely.   You may experience some or none of these symptoms.  Common symptoms are fatigue, a scratchy or sore throat, a cough, fever, or headache.  Some might have diarrhoea.  Some might lose their sense of smell or taste. You may also feel short of breath or a little pressure in your chest.

Day 4-6: These are important days to be more aware of your symptoms. This is when lung (respiratory or breathing) symptoms may start to get worse.  You may start to feel worse and may have aches, chills, a cough and find it hard to get comfortable.  Some younger people may develop rashes, including itchy red patches, swelling or blistering on their toes or fingers.  Please make your health team aware if you have any concerns about getting worse.

Day 7-8:  For people with mild illness, the worst is generally over after a week. However some people may get worse at this point, or start to feel better briefly then take a turn for the worse. If you start to feel worse you can contact us via phone message or email, Healthline on 0800 358 5453, your Whānau HQ provider, or 111 for an ambulance.

Day 9+:  Most people will feel better by now. Some people feel more tired than usual.  A slow return to activity is advised even if you have had a mild illness.  If you have ongoing severe symptoms, contact your COVID hub health team or us at GMC

Managing at home/ Being Covid prepared.

At anytime, if you feel you are unwell or deteriorating, contact your COVID hub or health team.  If you are severely unwell ring 111 and let the operator know you have COVID.

Continue to take your usual medications. You may find simple cough and cold remedies useful such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and throat lozenges.  Remember to drink plenty of water and rest.  Even if you have a mild infection, avoid strenuous activities until you are well again.

You and everyone you live with needs to stay home. Do not leave your property for any reason, unless told to do so by a health professional or in an emergency. Try and stay away from others in your home if possible.

If you need help with your isolation or a welfare pack, please contact the welfare team at Whanau HQ on 0800 512 337.

Because you can’t have visitors while you isolate at home, reach out to a friend or family member who can check on you by phone or text message every day. This is especially important if you live alone.  It would be helpful if you could give us here at Greenwoods an alternative contact for you, so that if we can’t reach you by phone, we can reach someone close to you.

If you have a health issue that is not related to Covid – for instance an injury – please make an appointment with one of the team here via telehealth.  If you need to be seen more urgently, call  our reception or nursing team who will arrange for you to come in in a safe manner.  DO NOT COME INTO GREENWOOD MEDICAL CENTRE WITHOUT ARRANGING YOUR VISIT FIRST.  If it is a serious or urgent matter, contact 111 and let the operator know that you have COVID.

Health Monitoring for patients isolating at home

During phase 3, health monitoring has moved from monitoring everybody with Covid-19 to concentrating on higher risk patients only.  The greater majority of people will be have mild illnesses and will be able to self-monitor and self-manage their health.

You will have been automatically assigned to either a low or moderate/high risk category.  This happens via an algorithm which may not know, or take into account all of your health history.  Please let us know if you feel you have been assigned to the wrong category by contacting us here.  Either leave a phone message on our nurses phone line, or email us at [email protected]

LOW RISK CATEGORY

If you had a nasal swab, you should have received a text message telling you that your covid test was positive, with some initial instructions. If you had a RAT test the result needs to be entered either by yourself on My Covid Record or by the person taking the test. If this has been entered, then you should also get a text with instructions.

If you are pregnant, have chronic health conditions like respiratory illness, heart disease, diabetes or if you have had/are having chemotherapy or are immunocompromised, you may be at risk of more serious illness from COVID-19 and should have been assigned to our higher risk category. Please let us know if you have been assigned to the wrong risk category by leaving a phone message on our nurse answerphone, or emailing us at [email protected] to trigger a health assessment.

Most people who are in the low risk category will not have any contact from a medical team.  We expect the vast majority of people assigned to the Low Risk category will be able to self – manage their symptoms at home, with occasional use of telehealth with us here at GMC, or Healthline 08003585453.  You can also explore the Whanau HQ website for information about welfare packs, and non-health support.

You and your household contacts need to self-isolate for 7 full days. Count the first day of your symptoms as day “zero”, so that the next day is day “1” then day “2” etc.  Isolate for 7 full days and self-release on day 8.  If you have no symptoms, then day “zero” is the day of your positive test.

You should be given instructions on how to access, and fill in, your own health summary via CCM – this is a Health Summary website designed to contain COVID specific information about your illness.  CCM is a shared healthcare web module that can be accessed by anyone who might need to see you for your care over this time, including afterhours and hospital providers.  For instance, it can be seen by your GP, by Healthline, and also if needed by hospital doctors.  Access to CCM is monitored, so your information is only available to healthcare providers associated with your care.

Please explore the “helpful links” at the end of this email. Nearly every answer to your questions can be found online.  As the numbers of Omicron ramp up, we expect to become very busy and we’d like to keep our phone lines and services as free as possible for those needing extra help.

Remember if you are unwell or deteriorating at anytime, do not hesitate to call Healthline 0800 358 5453, to contact us here at GMC, or if needed to call 111 and an ambulance.

MODERATE/ HIGHER RISK CATEGORY

If you have been assigned to a moderate or higher risk category, you may still have received a text message telling you your covid test was positive and giving you initial instructions on self-isolating. However you should also receive a phone call within a day or two of your diagnosis, either from the Covid Care Hub Whanau HQ, or by us here at GMC.   This phone call will trigger, as needed, the delivery of a home care pack to you which may contain items such as a pulse oximeter and instructions to help you monitor your health at home.    If you are in a higher risk category, you will then go on to receive daily phone calls to ensure that you are managing at home, and that your health is not deteriorating.

If you feel you are deteriorating, please do not wait for this daily phone call, but instead reach out to either Healthline 08003585453, to the Whanau HQ team, or to us here at Greenwoods by emailing [email protected] or by leaving a message on our nurses answerphone. Please do not wait on hold – our messages are cleared very regularly. If you are more severely unwell, please call 111 and let the operator know you have COVID.

Remember that you have been placed into a higher risk category as a precaution. This does not mean you are necessarily going to have a more serious illness.  Most people even in the higher risk category will have a mild illness that they can manage safely at home.  This is particularly true if you have been double or triple vaccinated.

Self Isolation for Covid positive and Household contact patients

New Zealand is currently in Phase 3 of the covid response.  During this phase, Covid-19 positive patients are expected to self-isolate within their own homes.  If you are unable to isolate within your own home, please discuss this either with us or with the team at Whanau HQ who might be able to help with arranging alternate accommodation.

There are different types of self-isolation requirements. You will need to self-isolate from others when you:

  • are positive for COVID-19
  • live with a person who has Covid-19
  • You are a household contact and a critical/ essential worker

If you are positive for COVID-19

You will need to isolate for at least 7 full days while you recover from COVID-19.  Day 0 is defined as the date of onset of symptoms, or the date of your positive covid test if you are asymptomatic. You can leave isolation at the start of day 8 if you are completely well.   If you have ongoing symptoms on day 8, please contact either Healthline on 08003585453, or leave a message for our nurses.

Despite being allowed out of isolation on day 8, it is still recommended you avoid high risk locations where you might come into contact with vulnerable people such as aged care facilities or hospitals until day “11”

If you live with a person who has COVID-19

If you live with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to immediately self-isolate for 7 full days from the same day “0” as your household contact. You will need to get tested on day 3 and day 7 of your self-isolation period, or sooner if you get symptoms.  You can end your self-isolation on the same day as the first  COVID-19 person in the household counted as day “0”, provided you have no new symptoms AND your tests are negative.

If your own test becomes positive, you need to reset your clock to self-isolate for another 7 full days.  Other members of the household who test negative do NOT need to reset their clock, but can come out of isolation on the same day as the original case.

Despite being allowed out of isolation on day 8, it is still recommended you avoid high risk locations where you might come into contact with vulnerable people such as aged care facilities or hospitals until day “11”

If you are a critical worker and a Close Contact

If you are a critical worker and a household Contact, you will still be able to go to work providing you do not have symptoms AND have a negative Rapid Antigen Test before going to work. Your employer will let you know if this applies to you.

Apart from going to work, you must still fulfil the self-isolation requirements outlined above in other areas of your life.  This means that you can go to work, but cannot go to the supermarket!

Who to tell about your diagnosis

Of course you should notify your household contacts, as they also need to self-isolate.  You should also consider notifying people who might be close contacts.  Non –household contacts do not need to isolate, but they should monitor their health and get tested early if they have any symptoms.

Close contacts could include:

  • Your employer
  • Your child’s school or Early learning service
  • Friends,
  • Friends, family and others you’ve spent time with recently
  • Any organisations, businesses or services you attended indoors for more than 15 mins (e.g., your church or physio)

Tell people you’ve spent more than 15 minutes with in your infectious period to monitor their health.  Your infectious period is 2 days before your symptoms started or 2 days before your test if you have no symptoms.

Pharmacy services while in Home Isolation

There are a number of pharmacies around Auckland who are able to organise regular pharmacist services for patients home isolating.  These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Medication reconciliation
  • Dispensing and home delivery of medications – either your regular medications or any new medications required for your Covid management
  • counselling on new medicines, interactions, and side effects
  • Home INR monitoring
  • Opioid substitution therapy

The closest participating pharmacies to Greenwood Medical centre are:

  • Hillsborough Pharmacy
  • Onehunga Family Pharmacy
  • Epsom Kiwi Chemist
  • Greenlane Care Pharmacy

If you feel you are not coping

If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. There are helplines available that offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Need to Talk? — free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
  • Youthline — call 0800 376 633, free text 234
  • What’s Up? — call 0800 942 8787 — a safe place for tamariki and rangatahi to talk.
  • Lifeline — 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline — 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Depression and Anxiety Helpline — 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions.
  • For Pacific communities, mental health support is available by calling 0800 Ola Lelei – 0800 652 535.

Helpful Websites and Links:

Your go-to website for general information about Covid -19 is Health Navigator: https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/c/covid-19/

Your go-to website for information about help available to you while you are isolating at home is Whanau HQ :  https://immunisation.northernregion.health.nz/whanauhq/

A PDF version of the Whanau HQ guide: https://immunisation.northernregion.health.nz/assets/Whanau-HQ-guide.pdf

Information about self isolation: https://covid19.govt.nz/isolation-and-care/how-to-self-isolate/

Information for close contacts:  https://immunisation.northernregion.health.nz/closecontact 

A quick reference sheet for Covid-19 at home: https://immunisation.northernregion.health.nz/assets/Whanau-HQ-one-pager.pdf

Your Covid-19 Health Symptom diary: https://immunisation.northernregion.health.nz/assets/Health-Diary.pdf

Welfare help and packs while home isolating:  If you need help with food or other supplies, please contact the COVID-19 Welfare phone line on 0800 512 337 

Information about vaccination: https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/