COVID-19 Staff FAQ

Last updated: Monday 20 September 2021

Current Alert Level

  • Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at 11:59 pm, Tuesday 21 September
  • A review of Alert Levels will happen on Monday 4 October
  • The rest of New Zealand will remain at Alert Level 2

Travelling as an Essential Worker:

  • If you are travelling within an Alert Level area (e.g., within Level 2, 3, or 4), please always take your Proof of Identity letter (download via MySkill) and your Staff ID card to all shifts. Click here to download your proof of identity.  You can read more about this under the topic “How can I prove I’m an essential worker?”
  • If you’re one of the few essential workers who need to travel between Alert Level 2 and 3 areas, or any area affected by a Section 70 Health Order, and if you have not received your MBIE Travel Exemption Permit Letter, please ring your Service Facilitator / Client Coordinator or manager immediately.
  • All essential staff who need to travel between Alert Levels will need to provide a Covid-19 negative test every 7 days starting from Wednesday 8 September.

Important information

We hope everyone is continuing to keep safe and well out there. We have updated the information below following the government’s announcement at 4 pm Monday 20 September. Please read them carefully as we have added and updated some of these information, and let us know if you have any questions.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by everything, take a few deep breaths, and remember you’re doing an amazing job under extraordinary circumstances. 

In this article, we cover:


General questions

What are the current Alert Level restrictions?

Find out what restrictions are in place at the current Alert Level so you can keep everyone in your community safe.

Click here to find out more about Alert Levels.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Find out what the COVID-19 symptoms are, how fast they appear, and what to do if you have any symptoms. If you, a household member, or a close contact is experiencing any symptoms, please also notify your Service Facilitator / Care Coordinator or Manager as soon as possible.

Click here to view COVID-19 symptoms


How can I track where I have been?

All staff are encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer App to their phones and scan each time they enter or leave the service and at other locations and businesses in the community. If you are unable to use the Tracer App, please use an alternative system, e.g. manual sign ins, keeping a record of your movements. Remember that it is now mandatory to scan or manually sign in at cafes, busy venues, and events at all Alert Levels.

Click here to download the NZ COVID Tracer App


What are the current locations of interest?

Please regularly check the locations of interest for updates. If you attended one of the locations during the relevant times, please follow the directions for that location and notify your Service Facilitator / Care Coordinator or Manager as soon as possible.

Click here to view locations of interest


What should I do if I become unwell?

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, call Healthline, your doctor or iwi health provider. They will tell you if you should get a COVID-19 test. If you are required to take a test, please notify your Service Facilitator / Care Coordinator or Manager as soon as possible.

Click here to view more info about testing


How can I prove I’m an essential worker?

Take your Proof of Identity letter (download via MySkill) and your Staff ID card to all shifts.

Click here to download your proof of identity

Click here for more information on permitted movement at Alert Levels


Support services questions

Our services under Alert Level 3

Are we still providing home and community support?

We are continuing to provide our Home & Community services.  If you’re a Homecare Support Worker, please attend all shifts on your roster unless you’re Service Facilitator / Care Coordinator advises of any changes. Please continue to follow MOH guidelines and the use of PPE. Please see the section on PPE below.

What services are NZCare and Geneva Community Living Support providing?

We will only operate essential services: this includes Residential and Disability Community Support. Respite and vocational services remain closed. Staff movement between residential services will be minimised so that staff are only in physical contact with a minimum number of people to prevent any infection spreading.

Please use PPE as per MOH guidelines. Residents may have visitors ( from outside their bubble) only where safe, using the QR tracker code and following good hygiene and physical distancing. In the case of non-essential services, wherever possible, support will be provided in alternative ways.

What services are Geneva Employment and Disability Support providing?

All day face-to-face group services and respite services will be put on hold; groups and one to one sessions can move to online sessions for MSD and MoH clients. Limited ACC LML supports may occur with prior Operations Manager and funder approval as clinical judgement required for clients that need essential support.

What services is Geneva Rehabilitation providing?

  • Wellness and Rehabilitation – Face-to-face service at Alert Levels 3 and 4 for necessity of life, emergency, and acute cases, and/or high-risk and vulnerable clients only. Funder guidance will be followed and is contract specific. Clinical judgement required.
  • Telehealth services – Yes, where clinically appropriate and permitted by Funder.
  • Seating to Go – ACC Face-to-face service at Alert Levels 3 and 4 only for essential repairs or provision of chairs to allow some level of mobility.
  • MoH – essential visit only as per MoH guidance. Telehealth as clinically appropriate.
  • Work Solutions – Telehealth Services only, where clinically appropriate.

What services is Solora providing?

  • IHCS: Ongoing delivery of services BAU. Clinical assessment completed for services being withdrawn. Cancelled cares by Clients are captured for future billing.
  • ISSC: Telehealth until Level 2, unless a safety risk which is to be discussed with the Funder
  • Solora team: Working from home unless individual Chief Executive permission to work in the Wellington office.

What services is Explore Specialist Advice providing?

We will continue to provide services but this will be done virtually through video conferencing or phone.

What services is MySkill providing?

  • No face to face training
  • All eLearning training continues as normal
  • If urgent first aid is required – enrolment into First Aid eLearning (Non NZQA can be approved by Libby Archer)
  • All MySkill staff work from home with the exception of the Business Operations Training Team (Service Centre training).

Other services

For all other services, it’s business as usual and working from home.

Safety precautions for office staff

  • For office staff who may need to work from our offices (if approved by the Chief Executive), it’s mandatory to wear the appropriate PPE (e.g. mask) at all times.
  • You will also need to observe physical distancing, follow safety and precautionary measures, and use the Covid Tracer App whenever entering or leaving our office premises.

Our services under Alert Level 2

Are we still providing home and community support?

We are continuing to provide our Home & Community services. If you’re a Homecare Support Worker, please attend all shifts on your roster unless your Service Facilitator / Care Coordinator advises of any changes. Please continue to follow MOH guidelines and use of PPE i.e. wearing mask at all times.

What services are NZCare and Geneva Community Living Support providing?

  • Residential Services will operate as per usual. Staff may move between services, however this will be kept to a minimum. Please use PPE as per MOH guidelines. Visits with agreed whānau and close friends are allowed with mandatory recording and contract tracing.
  • Disability Community Support Services are provided as per normal under Alert Level 2. Please use PPE as per MOH guidelines. Staff movement should be minimised between homes and activities should maintain physical distancing where possible.
  • Respite and Day Services will re-open in a limited way and where urgent support is required. Please use PPE as per MOH guidelines. Contract tracing is mandatory

What services are Geneva Employment and Disability Support providing?

  • Full range of client assessment, rehabilitation and services resume
  • Telehealth as appropriate
  • Follow MoH social distancing guidelines, MoH pre-visit risk assessment and use PPE as required by MoH guideline
  • Continue to work from home where possible. Regional offices/bases are open, with limitations, to minimise usage and ensure social distancing can occur – check with your line manager.
  • Follow MoH mask wearing advice at all times

Employment Support, Wellness and Rehabilitation, Seating to Go and Work Solutions

  • Full range of client assessment, rehabilitation and services resume
  • Telehealth as appropriate
  • Follow MoH social distancing guidelines, MoH pre-visit risk assessment and use PPE as required by MoH guideline
  • Continue to work from home where possible. Regional offices/bases are open, with limitations, to minimise usage and ensure social distancing can occur – check with your line manager.
  • Follow MoH mask wearing advice at all times

What services is Solora providing?

  • IHCS: Ongoing delivery of services BAU
  • ISSC: Delivery of services BAU
  • Solora team: return to working in the Wellington Office

What services is Explore, Gains Mental Health and Mental health NZ providing?

Continue to work from home when possible. If you need to work from the office, discuss with your manager first. Meetings with clients should be virtual whenever possible. If you need to see a client face-to-face, apply appropriate safety precautions (see below).

What services is MySkill providing?

  • No face to face training
  • All eLearning training continues as normal
  • If urgent first aid training is required, Libby Archer can approve enrolment into St John’s First Aid eLearning (Non NZQA)
  • All MySkill staff work from home with the exception of the Business Operations Training Team (Service Centre training)
  • Medication Management Stage 2 Administration – practical observation move to online via MySkill assessors

Other services

For Alert Level 2 areas, keep on working from home until you receive a confirmation from your line manager. Please refer to the ‘Regional Office Safety Plans’ that your line manager will share with you in due course.


More information

How do I know if it’s safe to interact with clients?

You can download the updated Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Risk Assessment guidelines to determine whether interacting with clients is safe.

Click here to download the Ministry of Health guidelines


Taking leave questions

If you are unable to go to work for any of the reasons below, please get in touch with your Service Facilitator / Care Coordinator or Manager, who will complete an Incident Report (IR) on your behalf and send it to the Quality Team.

What leave can you take if you need a COVID-19 test?

If you require a COVID-19 test and you are unable to work from home (e.g. Support Workers, other field staff, or office staff without a laptop), you will be paid for the time off work until you receive a negative result under the Short-Term Absence Payment. If the IR is not completed, you won’t be eligible for payment. 

What leave can you take if you or a family member is ‘high risk’?

For Alert Levels 3 and 4, If you or a family member is considered ‘high risk’ and you are unable to work from home, you will need a note from a doctor to confirm this before being eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme. For Alert Levels 1 and 2, you are expected to work as per normal.

Click here to find out who are ‘high risk’ people

What if you’re sick with COVID-19 or a close contact? (Across all Alert Levels)

If you’re sick with COVID-19 or identified as a close contact by the Ministry of Health and advised to isolate and unable to work from home, you will be eligible for payment under the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme as long as you provide the appropriate proof. If the IR is not completed, you won’t be eligible for payment under the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.

Is there any extra support for childcare? (Under Level 4 only)

If you’re unable to work due to having young children at home, you may be eligible for Ministry of Education funded childcare at your home to enable you to work. Please follow this link for more information: Childcare for Workers of Alert Level 4 Business or Services Scheme – Education in New Zealand. Unfortunately, if you are not eligible for this funding, then you would need to apply for leave for the time you are off work for this purpose (This does not apply under Alert Level 2).

What leave can I take if I choose not to work?

If you choose not to work for reasons that are not listed above, you will need to apply for leave by way of the normal process.

Can I get the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy?

Unfortunately, New Zealand Health Group and all of our subsidiaries do not meet the criteria for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy.


Essential Frontline Staff & Support Worker questions

Can I still go to work?

Yes, but please take all necessary safety procedures and follow MOH PPE guidelines including wearing a mask at all times when interacting with clients or taking public transport between clients.

How can I keep myself safe at work?


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) questions

When do I need to wear PPE when at work?

Please follow the Ministry of Health guidelines on the use of PPE, you must wear a mask at all clients interactions and if you are using public transport to and from clients.

Click here to download the Ministry of Health PPE guidelines 

How do I wear my PPE?

Our training partners at MySkill have put together a PPE elearning course which you can access through your MySkill dashboard under “COVID-19 Updates”.

Click here for Geneva Healthcare staff

Click here for HealthCare NZ staff

How often should I change a mask?

A surgical/medical grade mask should be changed when:

  • it is damp, soiled or damaged
  • in between patients unless used in a cohort situation or during sessional use, such at a Community Testing Centre.

The same mask should not be worn across multiple home visits (where there are more likely to be risks of contamination between patients/clients). 

How can I order PPE?

HealthCare NZ staff can arrange a time to collect PPE from your local branch by emailing them. To ensure the safety of our staff and community, we urge you to only come to the office by appointment if possible. We can also send out PPE via courier.

Geneva Healthcare staff can order through the Customer Love Team or your usual Care Coordinator. We will send PPE out via courier. 

Is there any cost to ordering PPE?

There is no cost to ordering PPE from us to use while you’re working. Please follow the Ministry of Health guidelines for when to use PPE.

Can I order PPE for other people?

To purchase PPE for loved ones, please visit your local pharmacy or grocery store.


What if you’re required to have a COVID-19 test or isolate?

Please follow the directions in the Ministry of Health guideline and immediately advise your Care Coordinator / Service Facilitator or Manager if:

  • You are required to have a COVID-19 test or isolate in line with the Ministry of Health (MOH) public health guidance
  • You are a contact who attended a location of interest during the relevant timeframes

What should I do next?

  • Please take the test (or several tests as may be required by the Ministry of Health for you),
  • Stay at home and isolate while awaiting test(s) results, and immediately advise your your Care Coordinator / Service Facilitator or Manager on:

HealthCare NZ:  hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz (office staff only)  or 0800 002 722 (support worker staff only)
Geneva Healthcare:  qualityteam@genevahealth.com (office staff only) or 0800 436 382 (support worker staff only)

  • Follow any further updated instructions from the Ministry of Health before returning to work, e.g. see information on this page and this page.
  • You will need to provide evidence of a negative test result(s) and work through an internal risk assessment before you can come back to work. This process will be explained to you when you advise us of your negative test result.  
  • You will be paid as normal for the work you miss.

How do I escalate any concerns? (For all staff)

So that we can make the necessary arrangements to ensure you and your clients’ health and safety, please follow your escalation process and advise us immediately on:

HealthCare NZ:  hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz (office staff only)  or 0800 002 722 (support worker staff only)
Geneva Healthcare:  qualityteam@genevahealth.com (office staff only) or 0800 436 382 (support worker staff only)

if:

  • You are unwell and therefore need to stay home – please stay away from others if you are unwell,
  • You or some members of your household have concerns relating to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, please stay at home and contact Healthline or your GP about getting tested, 
  • You have any concerns about your wellbeing or the wellbeing of the person you support,
  • You’ve been identified as a contact with a person who has been tested for COVID-19, or if you or some members of your household have been tested for COVID-19, please stay home and advise us immediately on: 

HealthCare NZ:  hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz (office staff only)  or 0800 002 722 (support worker staff only)
Geneva Healthcare:  qualityteam@genevahealth.com (office staff only) or 0800 436 382 (support worker staff only)


(For office staff use ONLY) COVID-19 testing and reporting questions

As part of our reporting to the daily New Zealand Health Group Crisis Management Team, we are tracking any clients or staff tested for COVID-19.

We also need to report COVID-19 concerns raised with us, such as if a family member or close contact of a staff/Client has been tested or if a staff member is concerned about their health.

(For office staff use only) What is HealthCare NZ’s process for testing and reporting?

Please follow the process below to ensure we can monitor and manage any testing and associated activity:

  • Email any notifications of staff or clients who have been tested for COVID-19 or are in isolation to our dedicated email address – hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz using one of the templates provided. A separate template for each test is required. 
  • All staff members who have been tested must self-isolate and not come into contact with other staff or people we support while they wait for the results.
  • Any positive staff/Client COVID-19 cases need to be reported immediately to Vanessa Pullan, Director of Nursing and Allied Health, on 027 452 8900.

When you are making notifications of staff or Client testing, please ensure you include answers to the questions in the templates, including what actions have been taken to support staff and client safety and any other people that may have had close contact.

Please save a copy of each notification form sent to the email address. Staff can use the same form to update details rather than using a completely new form.

Below is the process and sheet for branch staff to complete under the direction of their manager when notified of a positive COVID-19 test.

Click here to download HealthCare NZ’s branch process

Click here to download HealthCare NZ’s Covid-19 testing and reporting sheet

(For office staff use only) What is Geneva Healthcare’s process for testing and reporting?

Please ensure you seek information in line with the questions below and submit an Incident Form. The more information we have, the better.

The Coordinator / Consultant / Manager should seek all relevant information from the Client or staff member.

  • Have they travelled outside of NZ recently? (if so, when and where?)
  • Have they or anyone they’ve been in contact with in the last 2 weeks been unwell with cold or flu symptoms, including muscle pain and fatigue?
  • Have they or anyone they had contact with been identified as a contact (CLOSE / CLOSE PLUS / CASUAL / CASUAL PLUS)? How was this determined (e.g. Healthline, the Ministry of Health, or the COVID Tracer App)?
  • Have they or anyone they’ve had contact with visited a location of interest?
  • Have they or their close contact been tested for COVID-19?   

Please confirm timeframes with the person and review when the schedule/shifts occurred to help determine contacts since becoming symptomatic.

Click here to view Geneva Healthcare’s process


Working from home questions

Please keep on working from home under Alert Level 3 and 4 or if you’re in any area affected by a Section 70 Health Order.

For Alert Level 2 areas, you can work from office but you must social distance from others and wear a mask.

How can I set up my workstation and laptop to ensure I’m comfortable?

For many of us, we are juggling both working from home and lockdown restrictions. For some, this has meant moving to work in established home offices, and for others, this means setting up a work area quickly and with available resources at home.

Click here to download the working from home tips

Click here to download Ergonomic tips for Homeworkers

Free home workspace consultation

During the lockdown, Geneva Healthcare’s Work Solutions team of specialist health professionals will provide free one-off videoconference consultations to any New Zealand Health Group employee who would like support with their work from home set up, especially those experiencing discomfort. This free consultation will take around 20 minutes to support problem-solving and reconfirm advice.

To request a consultation, email Ruth.Blackwood@genevahealth.com


Have more questions? Get in touch with us

As always, we are here if you have any questions or concerns. Simply get in touch with your Care Coordinator / Service Facilitator, or Manager.

HealthCare NZ

0800 002 722 (support worker staff only)

hcnz.covid19@healthcarenz.co.nz  (office staff only)

Geneva Healthcare

0800 436 382 (support worker staff only)

qualityteam@genevahealth.com (office staff only)