COVID-19 updates - Opening hours changes, medications & more
Not to scare anyone off - but that's how I look when I'm video chatting with you. It's actually been quite fun to be able to do video consults with people. Have no fear people - my beguiling wit is here to stay! Hope everyone is enjoying day 2 of the lock down. Let's go through the updates quickly, won't bore you guys:
1. Opening hours changes
As you can imagine, we're getting pretty quiet now aside from doing flu jabs and emergencies. We are open because we want to (we are here to happily serve!) and because we have to (the higher up powers that be have ordered us open as essential services to avoid hospitals being inundated and crushed). As we are getting more quiet, we have reduced our hours. We've gone from: Monday to Friday: 8:00am to 5:30pm to Monday to Friday: 9:00am to 4:00pm I'll be seeing you guys after walking my small, white dog, Fonsi. Let me know if you want to see a picture of him.
2. Medications - is there a shortage?
With most medications - No. But - in anticipation of a slower supply chain, the government is going to start reducing the amount of medications dispensed to prevent a shortage. There will now be monthly prescribing. What that means to you - is that I give you 3 months worth of medications, and the pharmacist will dispense 1 month at a time. Oral contraceptive pills are dispensed for 3 months. Pharmacies have discretion to dispense more medications depending on situations, conditions, etc. I have no say in this - so please don't ask. Some medications ARE in short supply and might be out of stock including: Sertraline (depression, anxiety medication) Cerazette (progestogen only pill) If you encounter out of stock situations, jump on a consult with me so we can discuss alternatives and monitoring after.
3. How do I know if I need to do a consult?
If your email query takes me more than 1 short sentence to answer - we need to talk. The reason is that it's often just too difficult to get that much information across meaningfully. By all means - if you have queries - email me and I'll advise you if we need to do a consult. Our video and phone consults have gone reasonably well so far, so please ring reception to make appointments. If you're not sure, ask the nurse or me if you need to have one. Thanks.
4. Covid-19 - How are we doing in New Zealand?
Pretty well actually. Today's number of new cases of 85 is surprisingly lower than expected. Usually at this phase for the next 10-14 days, new cases are expected to double every 3 days. There has been only 1 case in ICU - and the patient had other illnesses as well. New Zealanders as a whole have been observing the lock down and self isolation. The number of arseholes have been surprisingly low. Just look at the Australians and Brits. No offence to anyone here of course, I meant how the population in those countries have been behaving. We love our Australian and British cousins here. Our lock down parameters have been sensible. Only truly essential businesses have been open. In Australia hair dressers and personal gyms of 10 people or less are open - how this is essential is beyond me. Supermarkets - people have generally been disciplined and observing social distancing. Excellent.
5. How long will the lock down last?
Minimum of 4 weeks of course. However - based on international experience, it's likely that it'll be 8 weeks or more. I think the government is telling us 4 weeks first to make it more palatable - but I've advised everyone to psychologically prepare for 8 weeks. And hey - if it's less than that - you'll be relieved. If it's 8 weeks - at least you're ready.
6. Is the lock down justified? I mean - is COVID-19 really that dangerous?
COVID-19 is poop in your pants dangerous. It is more infectious than flu, and kills roughly 20x more people than flu. Older people get more sick but younger people can die too. If there are no control measures, about 89% of the population will get sick rapidly resulting in a fatality rate of about 1.7%. That means that if the government did nothing - we will have 80,000 dead bodies in a few months to a year. On the bright side - the lock down was started at the beginning of the curve so we are likely to avoid that. However - there is a risk of reinfection once the lock down is over, so there will still need to be vigilance. This will hopefully buy enough time for a workable vaccine to be made. Without a workable vaccine in the near future, we will always have the risk of another pandemic as several hot spots in the world might harbour COVID-19 in their population. All they need to do is send someone over with the virus into our population with no immunity.
7. Gee Young - way to go freaking us out. What else can we do to stay safe?
Some simple measures - try to avoid people in general. Supermarkets can be a bit of a gathering place. Try to do click and collect or deliveries. Plan 1 week in advance due to high demand. When going outside for exercise, stay 2m away from other people. Right now - when I get back from work, my wife and kids are treating me like a leper. They are pretty much running away screaming "COVID-19!". When I get home - I pretty much chuck my clothes in a separate laundry basket and take a shower. I hope everyone has a good weekend. I'll send some more updates and amusing anecdotes to keep people going in the next few days. Remember - self isolate. Stay 2m away from people. Wash your hands. Stay in your bubble. Kia kaha. Please feel free to forward this to anyone who might find it useful or amusing. We can be found at: www.baysidemedical.co.nz If you are interested in knowing more about us or joining the practice, click on the link above.