COVID-19 Alert Level 1
So here we are in level 1! Well done New Zealand, we have made a decent dent in this virus in our country, hopefully we can reach elimination in the next few days and keep that up over the coming months.
While many of the requirements of the other levels have eased off now, we can't forget that there is still a global pandemic and we must stay alert. Massage therapists can return to normal, but with a number of recommendations from the Ministry of Health. I have listed these below with details on how I am putting these into practice.
• Providing methods for contact tracing
I already do this through my booking and clinic notes programmes. I have a record of who I saw and when I saw them, and you also get your email confirmation as well, which is worthwhile retaining.
I have a clinic QR code poster so clients who want to keep track of where they have been can use this for contact tracing.
• Supporting clients to stay home when they are sick
My standard policy for sickness has always been that I ask clients to stay home if sick (cold, flu, virus, gastro bug etc). If I get infected, I risk passing it on to other clients before I'm aware I'm infected and contagious. It also means I can't work. I don't charge clients for cancelling due to sickness. This is my way of supporting clients to feel OK about cancelling, even if at short notice.
I get all clients to complete a COVID-19 screening form before their first appointment back.
Through my appointment reminder emails, clients are asked 24-36 hours before their appointment to let me know if there are any changes in their health. It is really important to let me know. As we've seen with COVID-19, there have been many cases where people who are infected have attributed their symptoms to other conditions, and then testing has shown they are positive. Even if you have a sniffle, flare-up in asthma, hayfever or other pre-existing conditions before your appointment, you must let me know so we can take the appropriate precautions.
• Good infection prevention control practices
I follow WHO hand hygiene protocols as part of standard best practice.
I provide clients with hand sanitiser on arrival. It is good to get in the habit of using this when you arrive.
I use high standards of hygiene and cleaning in the clinic, including wearing PPE when necessary e.g. with high-risk clients and when working around the face and inside the mouth, using a single-use set of linen for each client, cleaning down all high touch surfaces between clients, using hospital-grade cleaning products, allowing extra time for cleaning between clients.
• Physical distancing where possible
While physical distancing isn't possible during massage therapy, there is a 1m seating space between you and me during the consultation and wrap-up part of the session when we are talking.
Finally, don't forget these golden rules for everyone at Alert Level 1, from the Ministry of Health
If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor or Healthline and make sure you get tested.
Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
If you’re concerned about your wellbeing or have underlying health conditions, work with your GP to understand how best to stay healthy.
Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen to help contact tracing if needed. Use the NZ COVID Tracer app as a handy way of doing this.
Businesses should help people keep track of their movements by displaying the Ministry of Health QR Code for contact tracing.
Stay vigilant. There is still a global pandemic going on. People and businesses should be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to.
People will have had different experiences over the last couple of months. Whatever you’re feeling — it’s okay. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.