Covid 19 microscope

All coronavirus updates

29 June 2020 

While we’re all enjoying the freedom of Alert Level 1, here at CFNZ we’re continuing to keep up-to-date with the pandemic both in New Zealand and overseas.

New Zealand has 20 active cases of COVID-19; all of these cases have come from overseas and are in managed isolation and quarantine. One person is in hospital and the Ministry of Health reports there’s no community transmission.

We'll continue to keep in touch with CF teams for any additional advice if the situation changes. At the moment hospitals are returning to normal and remain vigilant of people admitted to hospital with respiratory symptoms.

We hope everyone with kids enjoys being out and about during the school holidays starting next week. New Zealand is thankfully still benefitting from Levels 4 & 3 lockdown with fewer cases of influenza this year so we hope everyone stays well.

Stay updated with COVID-19 current case details here.

And if you haven’t already, sign up to help track the flu at FluTracking. This is an online health surveillance system that takes you about 15 seconds to complete each week. You can also view a map of your local area to track flu in your area. 

 

9 June 2020 

Yesterday the Government announced New Zealand’s move to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 today, 9 June 2020.

We’re proud of how our organisation, including branches and volunteers, have continued to support our CF community during COVID-19. We’re also humbled by the way people with CF and their families have reached out to each other via social media – asking and answering questions, sharing advice, offering support – all during a challenging time.

During Level 2 our fieldworkers started seeing PWCF in outpatient clinics as per individual DHB guidelines. As we move into Level 1 our fieldworker visits will be back to normal, visiting people in the community and in the hospital as usual.

Our Auckland and Christchurch offices will reopen this week and our staff are dusting off their work clothes, putting away their slippers and looking forward to being back in the office.

Like you, we hope the path to COVID-19 elimination continues to move only forward. We also hope when we look back on the start of 2020 we’ll remember it as a time we spent with our family, hunting for toilet paper and flour and learning more about our colleagues and friends as we got a glimpse into their living rooms and bookshelves.

 

 

15 May 2020

Yesterday New Zealand moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

Our latest update has advice for people with CF and their families about returning to school and work, changes to healthcare services and an update on our fieldworker services.

Read the full update

 

7 May 2020

Today the Government released more detailed information about what life and business will look like at COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

Even though we need to wait until Monday 11 May to find out when New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2, we know some of you may have questions about what this means for PWCF, especially children returning to school.

We’re working with our Clinical Advisory Panel to provide advice and information and we’re in touch with representatives from the Ministry of Education for advice for at risk children returning to school.

We'll publish an update soon.

You can find general Alert Level 2 information on the Unite Against COVID-19 website

 

5 May 2020

We’re in our second week of COVID-19 Alert Level 3 so we’re working on some guidelines to help people with CF and their families plan for life during Alert Level 2.

The Ministry of Health is releasing more detailed Alert Level 2 guidelines on Thursday and we’re talking with clinicians for specific recommendations and advice.

We’ll keep you up-to-date once we have more information.

 

25 April 2020

New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 on 27 April, 11.59 pm. Over the week we’ve received some questions about what COVID-19 Alert Level 3 means for people with CF and their families.

We've published some guidelines and answers to questions to provide general advice for people returning to work and changes to hospital visits. We’ve also included some resources for further information from the Ministry of Health which is updated daily.

In COVID-19 Alert Level 3, physical distancing and washing and drying your hands regularly is still an effective way to minimise infection risk.

Read the full update

 

23 April 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this week that New Zealand will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 at 11.59 on 27 April 2020.

Moving into Alert Level 3 means more people can start to return to work in some sectors, especially people who can’t work from home. For some people this means someone in your bubble will be in contact with more people than during Alert Level 4.

If someone in your family has CF you may be worried about how you can continue to best protect them. And if you’re an adult with CF you may be concerned about how to stay safe if you’ve been asked to return to work.

We’re working with our Clinical Advisory Panel to publish specific advice for our CF community during COVID-19 Alert Level 3. We hope to have this available in the next few days.

In the interim, we recommend talking with your employer about ways you can minimise your contact with other people at work, including:

  • working away from other people
  • strict adherence of social distancing at work (maintaining at least 2 metres distance).

You may find our A guide to cystic fibrosis for employers helpful to give to your employer. While it doesn’t specifically cover COVID-19 it contains general information about supporting an employee with CF.

We suggest talking to your employer if you’re concerned about returning to work during COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

The Ministry of Health also has guidelines for vulnerable people, including:

  • staying at home, and asking others to pick up supplies for you — you just need to ask them to leave these at the door, rather than come in
  • staying at least 2 metres away from people who are unwell
  • if your health care provider advises you to wear a mask when in public areas because you have a particularly vulnerable immune system, follow that advice
  • if you're taking immunosuppressive drugs we advise that you do not stop this medication without first consulting your GP or specialist.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust (UK) has also published advice about how you can minimise risk to people within your household when you return home from work. These include:

  • Remove your shoes and leave them outside or by the door. Leave any bags and coats by the door.
  • Avoid touching light switches, door handles etc as you come in if possible.
  • Wash your hands and lower arms with soap, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Remove your clothes and put them in the wash.
  • Wipe your phone, wallet (and any door handles or light switches you had to touch on your way in) with an anti-viral wipe.
  • Have a shower with soap, and wash your hair.
  • Put on clean clothes.

Remember to stay up-to-date and connected with the CF community on our Facebook page. Our closed Facebook group is also a great support network for people with CF and their families.

 

12 April 2020

Earlier this week CFNZ Chief Executive Jane Bollard had a virtual meeting with the Child and Youth Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Network Clinical Reference Group. Together with the Clinical Advisory Panel we offer the following update for our CF community:

  • Please continue to contact your CF care team as usual if you’re feeling unwell. Over the past couple of weeks CF clinicians have seen people with CF presenting later than normal, and therefore more unwell. Don’t hesitate to contact your CF clinical team if you’re feeling unwell – they continue to be available to help as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic and their top priority is to help keep you as well as possible.

  • There are a few people around New Zealand starting Kalydeco. Please remember daily physiotherapy is very important as at the beginning of use of Kalydeco more physiotherapy has been found to be necessary.

  • If you do need to come to hospital, all people with CF are screened for COVID-19. This includes a nasal swab, which although uncomfortable, is done very quickly. Results from the test are usually available in 24–48 hrs. You’ll also be asked questions about recent travel and any contact with people with COVID-19.

  • If you’re admitted to hospital for treatment and before your COVID-19 status is known the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and dietitians will be dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE). This is part of the COVID guidelines to protect both people with CF and health professionals. PPE includes long sleeved gowns, masks and gloves. If your test result comes back negative, the nurses will wear gloves and mask only but the doctors and physiotherapists will continue to wear PPE.

  • Hospitals across the country are very well prepared to care for people with COVID-19 safely. Because COVID-19 arrived in New Zealand later than other countries health professionals had time to learn about managing COVID-19. Entering into level 4 lockdown when the number of people infected with COVID-19 was low has also helped minimise infection rates.

  • The CFNZ Clinical Advisory Panel is in regular communication with international CF registries and CFNZ CE Jane Bollard is in regular contact with her counterparts in the UK, Ireland and Australia. Anecdotal evidence suggests people with CF who’ve been infected with COVID-19 don’t become sicker than people without CF and have managed the symptoms at home.

  • International CF organisations are discussing how they'll record infection with COVID-19 for their data registries, including CFNZ and its Port CF data registry.

Stay up-to-date and connected with the CF community on our Facebook page. Our closed Facebook group is also a great support network for people with CF and their families.

 

9 April 2020

The Dietitians New Zealand Cystic Fibrosis Special Interest Group and the New Zealand Child and Youth Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Network Group have modified and endorsed a recent article written by 2 Tasmanian dietitians for people with cystic fibrosis.

Read the full article that provides practical advice about immunity, nutrition and COVID-19.

 

7 April 2020

As we near the end of week 2 of lockdown we hope everyone has been staying safe, staying in their bubble and staying sane.

Over the last week or two, CFNZ Chief Executive Jane Bollard has spoken with both Mylan, distributors of Creon products, and Vertex, who supplies Kalydeco. Both offered reassurances they have plenty of stock for our New Zealand cystic fibrosis community.

We were also pleased to hear district health boards around the country have ordered a number of PARI BOY SX nebuliser from EBOS. Late in 2019 DHB’s took over the funding and provision of the nebulisers so if you need a nebuliser please contact your CF clinical team.

Jane also attended a virtual meeting with the Child and Youth Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Network Clinical Reference Group this week and is in regular contact with her counterparts in the UK, Ireland and Australia. 

And finally, if you need some inspiration for fun things to do over the next couple of weeks, check out our April Panui which has some great ideas about books to read, movies to watch and podcasts to listen to.
 

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