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New World staff up first for jabs at village practice

Flagstaff Team

Covid vaccinations started at MedPlus on Anne St in Devonport last week, kicking off with a project to vaccinate the local New World staff last Friday.

“Our first day has been vaccinating all the staff at New World,” practice manager Dr Heidi McRae said. “They were the people who had been first off the rank locally.”

Appointments for colds and flu had dropped right off as people had been staying at home and not spreading germs, she said.

“That’s completely slowed down because they’re not mixing in the community.

“At the very beginning it was very busy with swabbing because of the proximity to that first case in Devonport. That tapered off within a week; then we pivoted to trying to do more vaccinations.”

The practice had only just been approved to vaccinate as there had been a backlog to gain the necessary approval, she said.

Vaccinations had started first at the practice’s Hauraki Corner premises.

“That’s our focus for Level 4 and possibly for Level 3 as well.”

McRae, who does phone consultations for mental-health patients, said people had coped much better this time than in the previous Level 4 lockdown on the whole, but some were still struggling, especially young people.

New World Devonport proprietor John Ashton said his staff were essential workers but it was difficult for them to get vaccinated. It was more convenient to do it locally.

Customers were following social distancing and other Alert Level 4 guidelines. “The grocery shopping is very good. Everyone is behaving themselves,” he said.

Any supermarket supply issues were largely caused by transportation to New Zealand, Ashton said.

Local vaccination sites are opening soon at Devonport Family Medicine and also Devonport 7-day Pharmacy.

Devonport Family Medicine practice manager Monique Nyemecz said they were open to care for patients and providing Covid testing. “[We] will be offering Covid-19 vaccinations from the 15th September,” she said.

Meanwhile, North Shore Hospital has called for more ICU nurses and prepared more negative-pressure rooms as the lock-down continued.

The first death Delta outbreak death occurred at North Shore Hospital last week. A 91-year-old woman with several underlying conditions died on 3 September.

Visitors to the hospital are banned under Alert Level 4, with a few exceptions on compassionate grounds including: one support person for the birth of a baby and the mother’s post-natal stay; and one parent or guardian in the paediatric ward. A portable cabin is now set up at the entrance for symptom-checking patients and then directing them into the appropriate areas, to prevent symptomatic people coming into contact with others.

An Auckland DHB spokesperson said negative-pressure rooms were being built at Middlemore, Auckland City and North Shore hospitals in general wards, intensive-care units and emergency departments. Previously the city had 40 negative-pressure rooms: 17 at Middlemore, 13 at Auckland and 10 at North Shore. Auckland has also asked for 30 intensive-care nurses to be diverted from around the country to help the city with its Covid-19 response. Earlier this week, Auckland hospitals had 40 covid cases, eight of those at North Shore.


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