COVID-19 Community Response Framework

The Community Response Framework supports the Health sector response to COVID-19 as the sector adapts to new evidence and changes in the overall response.

Protecting Aotearoa and New Zealanders from COVID-19 continues to be a priority for the Ministry of Health. The virus continues to evolve, with new variants emerging around the world. With this comes the need to move from a strategy of elimination to reflect new and emerging evidence about the virus and the effectiveness of vaccines.

The COVID-19 Community Response Framework was developed in 2020 as a guide for the primary and community health sector when moving between different alert levels.

The Framework has been further updated following the introduction of the Government traffic light system on 3 December 2021. It recognises that 100 percent of the health workforce and almost 90 percent of the country are vaccinated against COVID-19. The settings in the Framework are not the same as the Government traffic light system, but rather reflect the changing impact of COVID-19 on the health system at a local and regional level.

The COVID-19 Community Response Framework document provides some guidance and considerations for primary and community health providers as the COVID-19 situation changes and evolves region by region. This means some activities will need additional risk management measures as the response adapts. This will be driven by the impact on the local health system and the needs of the local community, including equity considerations.

It is important that health services continue to be delivered at all levels, with the least restrictions and in a safe environment. 

This guidance applies to: 

  • Primary care (general practice, urgent care, nurse practitioners, allied health, laboratories)
  • Community based health care services (includes home based support for aged care, disability and mental health, NASCs, other NGO providers)
  • Residential care (aged residential care, mental health, disability and hospice services
  • Community pharmacy
  • Maternity
  • Population health services (includes Well Child Tamariki Ora, family planning, sexual and reproductive health, school based health services)
  • Government contracted emergency ambulance services (road and air)

The Framework document is updated regularly.

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