• Dr. Young Lee

Moving to Level 2 - Part Deux

Moving to Level 2 - Part Deux

Hi guys! As everyone probably knows, Auckland is moving into Level 2 on Monday 31 August 2020, that's tomorrow! Just a few updates for everyone and also a new graph that I've made for our second wave. Have a look and see what you think. There are still cases of COVID19 out there in the community. The good news is that there aren't many cases. The bad news is that there are some unlinked to the known clusters - so there are some people out there in the community who don't realize that they are at risk. We have been fortunate that the vast majority of people who have been exposed to these clusters have been very cooperative and have turned up for testing. 

Clinic updates

Because we are essentially going into Level 2.5 - this is equivalent to Level 2 with and abundance of caution due to community cases still floating around. So here are a few rules to keep everyone safe. 1. Video and telephone consults still preferred if possible. 2. Wear masks if you're coming into the clinic. If you don't have a mask, please tell us and we will provide you with one. Please be aware that we do have a limited supply - so please wear one if you have one.  3. If you come to the clinic - please wait in the car and ring us. We will call you to come in to reduce the number of people in the waiting room.  4. We will resume routine health checks i.e. well checks, skin checks, cervical smears, driver's license medicals etc.  5. Respiratory symptoms - coughs, sniffles, shortness of breath, wheezing etc. We will probably try to see you in your car or outside the corridor with PPE gear on. Please let us know in advance. The concern here is that if someone turns out to be positive for COVID19, we have to close the clinic for 2 weeks if they came in and we weren't in PPE.  6. Opening hours back to 8am to 5pm.

When should I get tested for COVID19?

The government wants to increase testing now that they've been able to clear the back log of tests. Previously the advice was to only test if you have symptoms OR if you think you might be exposed. Now we want asymptomatic people to be tested too. Please go and have a test if you: 1. Have respiratory symptoms, even if they are mild, such as cough, sniffles, loss of smell, shortness of breath or a sore throat. If you are feeling very sick and need to be seen, please come in and we will examine you and swab you. If you are well enough to stay at home, get tested and stay home. 2. Have been to any of the places that have had clusters. 3. Feel that you need to. (seriously - testing a lot of asymptomatic people is a way of trying to pick up stray cases). Please don't come into the clinic JUST for a test - go to a testing station. The testing stations are better equipped and it's easier for them to maintain testing areas without potentially contaminating examination areas. 

Second wave - where are we now?

I couldn't find a graph that showed only the community transmission cases - so I made one. This helps us identify the trend and to see if we are making any progress. If you look at the graph above they are a few interesting points:

1. Every weekend, there is a big drop in numbers due to people testing less. So all these weekend dips have to be taken with that in mind - it's probably not accurate. 

2. There wasn't a huge surge in case numbers in the first week. Unfortunately - this is not a good sign. The best sign to see is a huge surge in cases in the first week (because the contact tracing finds the majority of cases), then a steady decline after. 

3. We are pretty much stuck with a flat number of cases for the last 10 days or so. This means that it's likely the disease is still spreading in the community.

So - what are our chances of stamping out COVID19. I don't know - but it's not going to be high like 95% in the first longer lock down. I'd say it's more like 50-75% given that we have all the unlinked cases. 

This means that we all really need to protect ourselves and by extension each other. The 2 main things everyone can do is:

1. Socially distance. 

2. Don't go into crowds - so no places of worship, parties etc.

3. Wear a mask. 

Please everyone - if we do this, we can aim for another elimination of COVID19 from New Zealand. Sure we might get another breach in the future, but that could be in 6-9 months time as our border security gets better.

Remember - this is a serious illness:

1 in 100 people die. 

17 in 100 end up in hospital. 

36.7% of people over 85 die. 

Many people who recover are still chronically ill. If you like this graph, I update it every 1-2 days at:

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