On 14 July 2022, the Government rolled out the COVID-19 Winter Surge Package (the Winter Surge Package), which put in place a series of health measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and other seasonal illnesses on the health system. At the time Aotearoa New Zealand was experiencing a wave of Omicron cases combined with a spike in winter illnesses. This was placing significant stress on our communities and health and disability system. The Winter Surge Package was introduced as part of additional public health measures to supplement the existing COVID-19 Protection Framework. When the measures were introduced Aotearoa New Zealand was at the orange setting, meaning some mandatory public health measures were in place. Mandatory measures included wearing of facemasks in many indoor settings and mandatory isolation for COVID-19 cases and household contacts.
Manatū Hauora – the Ministry’s of Health commissioned Allen + Clarke to complete an independent rapid review of the Winter Surge Package with a focus on identifying lessons learned for winter 2023. The recommendations should be viewed in light of the rapid review period and the limited number and roles of stakeholders interviewed. The scope of the review focuses on the views of Government officials. Communities were not engaged in the review. This review found there is an opportunity for health agencies to build on the findings of this review by further engaging with key stakeholders, such as primary and community care and Māori and Pacific providers as well as community groups.