Level 2 update for PWCF
15 May
Clinical care

Life at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 for people with CF and their families

15 May 2020

Moving to Alert Level 2 is a great step towards ‘normality’, but we know for some people with CF and their families it’s still an anxious time as we leave our bubbles and start interacting with more people.

This update builds on some of the information from our General guidelines for people with CF and their families during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 which should be read together with this Alert Level 2 update.

People with CF and their families are experts when it comes to making decisions about infection risks. Returning to school, work, sports and life outside your bubble is another risk you’re encouraged to weigh up based on your personal situation.

The factsheet from the Unite Against COVID-19 website has lots of information about Alert Level 2 for vulnerable people and includes many frequently asked questions about general life.

 

Returning to school

Sending your child with CF back to school is ultimately a personal decision based on what’s best for your child and individual situation. The Starship CF team recommendation is siblings can return to school next Monday but children with CF should wait another week before going back. This gives another week to see if there are any spikes in cases.

Because it’s a parent’s decision, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Education (MoE) websites both have information that may be of help.

The MoE has comprehensive information on its website about hygiene, and schools should remain vigilant about abiding by the rules as they'll need to close if there are cases of COVID-19 in the school community.

However, the MoE also recognises some children, including those with an underlying medical condition, may continue to learn from home. Find out more 

Guidelines from Professor Innes Asher, Respiratory Paediatrician at Starship Hospital also provides advice for children returning to school with chronic lung diseases, including:

  • There are no reports of children and young people with underlying chronic lung diseases getting disproportionally sick overseas or in New Zealand.
  • No child in New Zealand has been hospitalised with COVID-19.

The Australian and New Zealand Childrens Haematology and Oncology Group released an update on 8 May. Although its advice is for children with cancer, it offers an evidence-based approach to returning to school for immunocompromised children. Read it here 

And remember, our school guides on our resources page are helpful to give to your school and teachers to raise awareness of the importance of minimising infection risks to keep children with CF safe.

 

Returning to work

Some people may have already returned to work during Alert Level 3 and even more people will do so in Alert Level 2.

If you and your employer agree you can return to work safely you should do so.

Worksafe has a range of resources for both employers and employees about working safely at Alert Level 2. 

Please speak with your CF care team for individual advice. Our fieldworkers are also available to help with advice if needed.

 

Hospital appointments and admissions

Our advice from Alert Level 3 remains the same: There’s a very low prevalence of COVID-19 in NZ, therefore it’s safe to go to hospital.

Follow the advice of your clinical team if they recommend an admission. Hospitals have guidelines to help protect people who need treatment, and for people with CF and post-transplant this is treatment that’s often not deferrable or acute. 

We’ve heard some DHB’s may restart face to face clinic appointments if they think it’s necessary, such as non-deferrable clinical examinations or testing. Your CF care team should contact you about this.

At Alert Level 2 there are changes to hospital visiting guidelines and some areas of healthcare will now allow a maximum of two visitors at any one time.

The Ministry of Health factsheet Health and disability services at Alert Level 2 has comprehensive information about hospitals, primary health care and home-based support. 

 

CFNZ fieldworker visits

Our fieldworkers will continue to stay in touch with PWCF and their families virtually as they have been during Alert Levels 4 and 3. We’ll continue to assess when fieldworkers can start to visit people again in the community. Fieldworkers will follow the recommendations from individual DHBs when they can start seeing PWCF and their families during inpatient admissions and outpatient clinics.

 

CFNZ services

During Alert Levels 4 and 3 all CFNZ staff provided increased practical, financial and emotional support to our community from our ‘home offices’. During Alert Level 2 our staff will continue to work from home for the first two weeks. We’ll keep you updated when this changes.

Please continue to contact us in the usual way, either through contacting your fieldworker or the National Office.

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.