COVID-19: Advice for all health professionals

Guidance and factsheets to support health professionals managing COVID-19.

Vaccine information

For guidance and the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine, go to: COVID-19: Vaccine information for health professionals.


COVID-19 clinical advice line

The National Telehealth Service provides a COVID-19 clinical advice line for community health providers (including primary care, pharmacy, midwives, aged residential care providers, and home and community health care professionals).

The service offers clinical support and advice 8am – 8pm every day, including weekends and public holidays.

The clinical advice line is staffed by registered nurses and paramedics, and there is at least one doctor available on every shift.

The service is not a source of information about or access to equipment, staffing or funding – these will continue to be managed through the usual channels.

It provides clinical staff with a valuable additional resource to help them navigate the range of information available and to support them in making local decisions to protect their patients and populations.

Details of the 0800 clinical advice number have been circulated to stakeholders within New Zealand.


Interim Guidance - Clinical Management of COVID-19 in Adults

This guideline is intended to be an accessible summary of key components of hospital management of adults with confirmed or probable COVID-19.

This document will be reviewed and updated periodically, or in response to significant changes in evidence and/or recommendations by international guideline groups.

Feedback on this document should be provided through clinicians’ professional society, DHB service or organisation.

Clinical guidance for responding to patients with an intellectual (learning) disability during COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand

People with an intellectual (learning) disability are at a heightened risk of having a poor outcome from infection with COVID-19 in comparison to non-disabled people. These guidelines are being provided to ensure equity for people with an intellectual disability.


Cluster investigation and control guidelines

This document provides guidelines for the identification, investigation, reporting and control of clusters of COVID-19 infection.


Keep people in your home safe

Guidance on keeping you and your whānau and family safe when you have finished work during the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control - Interim Guidance for DHB Acute Care Hospitals

This document replaces the version of 29 May 2020. 

It includes:

  • updated and additional information in the infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures table
  • an additional section that outlines the transmission of COVID-19 and the principles of IPC
  • an additional section on an organisational framework for IPC preparedness for the management of COVID-19 in the hospital setting, including administrative, environmental, and engineering controls.

talkingCOVID

talkingCOVID is designed to help health professionals have conversations about what matters most to patients and their whānau. The talkingCOVID pages are based on sound principles, evidence and experience.


Students completing training placements during COVID-19

The following policy applies to students from all health professions who are completing training placements or undergoing face-to-face training assessments in any setting (ie, DHB or non-DHB) while nation-wide or regional COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions are operating:


Ventilator capacity

The following table shows ICU-capable ventilators in public hospitals by DHB as at 14 July 2021. Anaesthetic ventilators are not included in these figures as they are generally not considered suitable for use in ICUs.

The Ministry’s COVID-19 equipment reserve, which is referenced in the table, is located in Auckland. As well as ventilators, it holds a range of respiratory equipment (CPAP/NIV/HFNO), ancillary equipment (mainly pumps and monitors) and related consumables. The reserve is managed for the Ministry by New Zealand Health Partnerships Ltd.

ICU-capable ventilators in public hospitals as at 14 July 2021

Region

DHB

Quantity

Northern

Auckland

107

Counties Manukau

56

Northland

25

Waitemata

29

Total

217

Midland

Bay of Plenty

23

Lakes

8

Tairawhiti

7

Taranaki

13

Waikato

55

Total

106

Central

Capital and Coast

61

Hawkes Bay

29

Hutt Valley

12

Mid Central

20

Wairarapa

4

Whanganui

6

Total

132

South Island

Canterbury

82

Nelson Marlborough

18

South Canterbury

8

Southern

64

West Coast

2

Total

174

Held in DHBs

629

Held in National Reserve

133

Grand Total

762

ICU bed capacity

Between April and October 2020, the Ministry received daily updates from DHBs (manually reported) on the number of ICU beds in their region.  The definition at that time was based on ICU beds and ICU capable beds.  These beds could all be staffed and able to accept a ventilator if required (for example, the bed may have been in a high dependency unit but could be ventilated to lift it to ICU capacity).  The beds were predominantly within DHB hospitals, but also included ICU beds available for use in private hospitals. 

This manual reporting stopped in October 2020, as the COVID-19 situation was relatively stable and daily reporting was not required.

During that period, DHBs continued to plan for any ‘surge’ capacity needed, and it was determined that ICU capable capacity could be lifted to over 550 beds if required.

In February 2021, the Ministry completed a stocktake of ICU capacity in DHBs.  The capacity at that time was 284 beds, and this is still the current estimate.  However, this figure relates to ICU beds specifically, in public hospitals only, and which are already staffed.  It does not include all ICU capable beds across public and private.

It should be noted that ICU bed capacity in New Zealand changes daily, depending on local need, planning and staffing.

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