Critical Health Services / Critical Worker – under the COVID-19 Protection Framework
Under the current COVID-19 Protection Framework health and disability services and their workers can continue to operate during green, orange and red traffic lights.
The Ministry of Health has recently published Guidance for critical health services during an Omicron outbreak which includes definitions of Critical Health Services and a Critical Worker.
In its definition of critical the Ministry considers Primary Care services (including private Allied Health providers) to be critical, and any worker providing a critical health or disability service is considered a critical worker.
Close Contact Exemption Scheme
Yesterday the government announced the Close Contact Exemption Scheme. Physiotherapists and their staff can access the Close Contact Exemption Scheme to ensure critical physiotherapy services continue to function.
While we are currently in Phase One of the Omicron Response Plan, during Phases Two and Three, workers at registered critical services who are vaccinated, and asymptomatic close contacts of a COVID-19 case will be able to continue to work, as long as they return a negative rapid antigen test prior to each day/shift they are at work during the isolation period, and follow specific health protocols. They will only be allowed to go to work – not anywhere else.
Physiotherapists who are participating in the scheme will be able to collect free Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits from a collection site. Refer to the RAT guidance on the Ministry of Health website for the process for collecting and undertaking a Rapid Antigen Test, as part of the Close Contact Exemption Scheme.
How do I register as a Critical Service/ worker?
Businesses and organisations can find more information and how to register for the scheme by visiting the Close Contact Exemption Scheme page.
Please note that the advice we provide is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice. You should seek advice from a lawyer should you wish to understand how the rules apply to your specific circumstances.
The Ministry of Health has recently advised that the provisional vaccinator course run by IMAC, is now available again. For those interested in becoming a provisional vaccinator, further information can be found here.
Take care and if you have any queries re the above please contact the Ministry of Health and they will able to assist you on these government announcements.