Covid 19 microscope

COVID-19 updates for the CF community

We are aware that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is causing significant concern, particularly within the cystic fibrosis community. The following page is intended to consolidate information and advice for the New Zealand CF community on COVID-19, so you can be informed when taking steps to protect yourself and your loved ones living with cystic fibrosis.

Read our commitment to the CF community during the Covid-19 pandemic.


 

27 March 2020

Our commitment to supporting the CF community isn't changing

Our utmost priority is to ensure that people with cystic fibrosis and their families remain supported throughout the pandemic and into the future. We are here for you.

As we progress through the pandemic, we’ve made some changes to the way we deliver our services.

Read about our services and process changes here

 

26 March 2020

Priority grocery access

Countdown has set up a priority-booking delivery initiative for people in the community with health issues that make it dangerous to go to the supermarket for essential supplies.

If you would like to register for this service, make sure you have signed up for online shopping at shop.countdown.co.nz, then email susan@cfnz.org.nz who will supply you with a specific code set up for CF families. Complete this form and enter the code where it asks for a Super Gold Card number. 

Please only use this service if you absolutely need to – reserved delivery slots should be left open for other New Zealanders who can’t leave their homes at this challenging time.

More information about Countdown's Priority Assistance

 

Pharmacists have been directed to limit prescription supply to one month

We have had reassurances that drug companies and Pharmac have a contingency plan in place, and are firmly focused on keeping products / medicine coming into NZ to ensure the supply continues (this includes Kalydeco).

However, from 11.59pm today, pharmacists have been instructed to only dispense one month’s supply of Pharmac-funded medicines, or three months for the oral contraceptive. They can make exceptions on a case by case basis, for example if someone lives remotely or has access or mobility issues.

 

24 March 2020

NZ to move to COVID-19 alert level 4

At 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March New Zealand moves to COVID-19 level 4. New restrictions, especially for schools and non-essential businesses supersede some of the information provided in our Q & A.

We encourage everyone to stay up-to-date on the websites provided below, and we will keep this page updated.

Most importantly, ongoing support is still available from our fieldworkers via phone call, text and email. Full contact details here. For medical advice please ask your clinical team.

The New Zealand Government also announced changes to its COVID-19 employer support programme that supports people financially. You can find more information on the Work and Income website.


23 March 2020

CF Compassion Pins

We've created 'Compassion Pins' for people living with CF to wear to help minimise those occasions where the persistent 'CF cough' is assumed to be a virus, or contagious. 

Read more and see the Compassion Pins here.

Email comms@cfnz.org.nz with your full name, address and which badge(s) you'd like.

 

22 March 2020

CFNZ publishes Q&A on COVID-19 questions 

Earlier this week we put out a request for questions from our CF community about COVID-19 and cystic fibrosis.

Most of the questions we received were for advice about attending school, work, self-isolation and the physical effect of COVID-19 for people with cystic fibrosis. We received an overwhelming response and because many similar questions were asked we have combined some of the questions if the answer covers the same information.

You can read the Q&A here.

 

21 March 2020

Government announces new alert system and advice for individuals with respiratory conditions.

At noon in a live broadcast PM Jacinda Ardern announced a new alert system for Covid-19 with four levels.

Sometimes they will apply nationwide; at others to certain towns or cities. At all levels, essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies will remain available.

New Zealand is currently at Level 2. Ardern said that further measures were required within Level 2.

She offered this advice during the announcement:

“People over 70 years of age, or people who are immunocompromised or have certain pre-existing conditions, need to stay at home as much as they can from now on.

“I’m asking everyone to support our older New Zealanders by doing things like keeping in contact with them and dropping off food or other supplies.

“I am also asking businesses and workplaces to play their part. Many workplaces already have plans for staff to work from home or to distance themselves in the workplace. We are now asking you to put those plans in place.

“Health and emergency professionals, transport and delivery staff, supermarket and food production workers, and other essential people will be continuing on at their place of work at this alert level.

“It’s also important to note that at every alert level supermarkets around New Zealand will remain open.

“We are also asking New Zealanders to limit all non-essential domestic travel. We need people to significantly reduce the number of interactions they have at this time and that includes visiting people in different parts of the country for non-essential reasons.

“These measures are being taken in the national interest. We know people, business, and sports events will be impacted, but these are short-term disruptions for the overall health of our people and country.

On Monday, 16 March, CFNZ put out a request for questions from the CF community via the Facebook page. These questions have been collated and responses written, and is with the CF Clinical Advisory Panel for sign-off. We are working hard to get this information available to you as soon as possible.

For more information about today's announcement visit: 

18 March 2020

The Ministry of Health releases COVID-19 information sheet for individuals more at risk of infection.

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The information explains how it spreads, at-risk populations, information on self-isolation, and simple steps you can take to protect you and your family and whānau. Read it here.


5 March 2020

On Friday 28 February the New Zealand Ministry of Health confirmed its first case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), followed by confirmation of additional cases.

This has prompted many questions from our CF community about the risk for people with cystic fibrosis and advice about staying well.

Firstly, we encourage everyone to stay up-to-date with factual, New Zealand specific information on the Ministry of Health website.

This is where you’ll find the latest information and regular updates.

General questions and answers about COVID-19 can also be found here 

Key information about COVID-19 from the Ministry of Health website
  • New Zealand is prepared and ready to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. The risk of an ongoing outbreak is low-moderate, but we are monitoring the situation closely.

  • New Zealand does not have COVID-19 circulating in our communities.

  • For most people in the community, personal protective equipment such as face masks are not recommended.

Basic hygiene tips for minimising the potential spread of COVID-19 and other viruses
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and make sure you dry them thoroughly after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses, before eating and handling food and after using the toilet.

  • Cleanse with hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.

  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and then perform hand hygiene.

  • Stay at home if you are sick.

  • Clean surfaces regularly.

Hospital clinic appointments and admissions

All hospitals have infectious disease protocols which staff follow with any infectious disease like COVID-19. These include the use of negative pressure isolation rooms, where the air from the room cannot escape outside, and standard droplet and contact precautions.

It's important to follow the advice of your clinical team, hospital and/or DHB when attending hospital.

“The main message is to re-iterate there are infection control practices in place that protect patients and staff from acquiring any form of emerging viral illness, and coronavirus is just another one of them,” says Dr Mark O’Carroll, Adult Respiratory Specialist at Auckland City Hospital.

People with CF should continue with the same basic precautions as usual during clinic or inpatient visits, including wearing a mask (advised), washing your hands when you enter and exit the hospital and maintaining a safe distance from others. Your DHB clinical team will advise you of any changes, if any, to the usual requirements.

 

Take home message

We encourage everyone to stay up to date with daily updates from the Ministry of Health on its website

We will continue to closely monitor the advice from the Ministry of Health and stay in regular contact with the CFNZ Clinical Advisory Panel. We will publish any important updates for our CF community on our website and Facebook page.

Please continue to follow the advice and infection control protocols of your healthcare team and if you have any concerns please contact your CF clinical team in the first instance. Any questions can be emailed to info@cfnz.org.nz.



Helpful websites for further information
 

Ministry of Health
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
 

Auckland Regional Public Health Service
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Health Navigator
What are coronaviruses?

Coronavirus videos