The locally-led nature of the 2DHB COVID-19 Care in the Community model is proving key to responding to the constantly changing nature of the Omicron outbreak in our communities.
In recognition that every community is different, an iwi or primary health provider was identified to lead the response in each area with support from the 2DHB COVID-19 Care in the Community coordination hub. Known as ‘spokes’, these teams coordinate with their local GPs, government agencies, community organisations, local councils and health providers to deliver appropriate health and manaaki support to people who are isolating.
This model has enabled us to shift and change our response quickly to meet new challenges and needs, adjusting as required in order to fit with local profiles.
An example of this came when the national response shifted towards a focus on rapid antigen tests as the main diagnostic tool. Existing testing sites immediately became public collection points, however, the extraordinary increase in immediate demand led to lengthy queues, traffic disruption and frayed tempers.
Extra collection sites were stood up quickly, drawing on existing relationships and local networks as well as an understanding of how and where the different community outbreaks were developing. Messages on these changes could be quickly shared through a variety of already trusted channels.
To complement these changes, analysis of the situation fed into a regional pivot in RAT distribution strategy to ensure people who were most at risk from COVID-19 had access to tests. This was achieved by focusing on direct distribution to community organisations and providers coordinated by each local spoke.
Overall, this strategy led to the speedy distribution of more than 3 million RATs, a vital part of being able to understand and respond to the rapidly growing outbreak in the 2 DHB region.
This locally-led approach continues to pay dividends as the response moves into its next changes and provides a solid base to meet upcoming challenges.