New Zealand is seeing a rise in COVID-19, seasonal colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses circulating in our communities and our workplaces.
To protect your staff from the spread of respiratory infections this winter, it is important that you follow these infection prevention measures and that you support your staff to do the same.
The more layers of protection you put in place – such as staying home if sick, vaccination, mask wearing and ventilation – the harder it will be for infections to spread. The measures don’t just keep people safe; they help businesses by reducing the chance of respiratory illness being spread in the workplace, and other workers being off at the same time.
Encourage staff and visitors to wear a mask when indoors around other people.
Wearing a mask is an effective way to protect ourselves and other people as it helps to stop infection spreading between people, particularly when we’re close together, or indoors without good ventilation (eg no ability to get fresh air into a room).
To increase uptake in use of RATs and masks, medical-grade mask packs are now available free, along with free RAT kits for individuals and households, from current community providers, testing centres, marae and pharmacies.
People do not need to have COVID-19 symptoms. And P2/N95 masks will be available for clinically vulnerable and high-risk individuals.
There has been no change to the testing criteria – only people who are symptomatic or a household contact are required to test.
Businesses covered by the Close Contact Exemption Scheme (CCES) should only be supplying RATs and masks to staff if they are symptomatic or a household contact.
Government agencies are exploring possible collection sites, where RATs and masks can be collected from, specifically for businesses covered by the CCES.
RAT supplies for asymptomatic surveillance testing of staff, for health and safety purposes should continue to be purchased from the private market.
The more people in a room together, the greater the risk of infections spreading from person to person. To help reduce the risk, open windows and doors several times a day to increase fresh air flow. If air conditioning is used, ensure the ventilation system is regularly maintained.
Building Performance New Zealand has more information.
Controlling the spread of airborne diseases in commercial buildings(external link) — Building Performance New Zealand
You, your staff and visitors on site should stay at home if they are unwell or have symptoms of COVID-19. It is important that people have time to recover from illness and are fit for work.
For health advice, encourage people to visit Health Navigator, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or their general practitioner.