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Supporting people with COVID-19 isolating at home

25 November 2021.

A new COVID-19 Protection Framework Welfare Response was announced by Ministers today.

We know many New Zealanders will be able to manage their situation themselves and may just need some information and know who to call if they need help. Others will require a variety of supports to meet their individual or whānau needs particularly where those needs are complex.

The Ministry of Social Development is leading the coordination of the welfare approach, working closely with key agencies across the health, housing education, economic and other sectors, and with iwi/Māori.

This response is designed to support New Zealand's health response to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and protect New Zealanders while they and their whānau self-isolate.

The Regional Public Service Commissioners are leading the regional alignment and coordination of the public service contribution to the CPF, including the welfare approach.

While most people who test positive for COVID-19 and their immediate household will be able to get food delivered by friends or family, some people and whānau will need help including those with more complex circumstances.

We also recognise that while some people are able to work from home and are less likely to lose their jobs if they have to self-isolate, others are much more financially vulnerable if they have to stay home.

Help will be available for those who need welfare support whether it’s food and groceries, or other issues.

An 0800 COVID-19 welfare support helpline for people who have to self-isolate will be available. Other agencies, councils and providers will also play key roles, based on what a region has decided will work best for their area.

When someone tests positive or is told they have to self-isolate

When the Ministry of Health is notified of a positive COVID-19 case or directs someone to self-isolate, an initial assessment will be made to identify whether the person or their whānau needs welfare support, and can isolate at home or need to be moved to a more suitable isolation facility. Options include managed isolation and supported isolation facilities. Ministry of Health will assess what is the best option for a person and their whānau.

Most people will be able to manage at home with the support of friends and family, and they'll have the COVID Welfare Line 0800 number to call if this changes.

Information about welfare needs will be passed quickly (with permission) to MSD, and triaged.

People with high welfare needs will be connected with a provider to help them get the support they need. If they already have an existing provider, we expect that provider will continue to support them through self-isolation. If not, they will be quickly linked with a local provider that may be known to them or best suit their needs.

Many providers offer both health and social services, which will help to provide a connected wraparound service for their clients.

People with lower welfare needs will be contacted by MSD staff who will get them the support they need, or escalate it to a provider who can.

We anticipate the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme will continue to be available to employers to help them pay staff who need to self-isolate because of COVID-19.

This approach allows New Zealand to manage large numbers of people self-isolating, most of who will need no, or very little welfare support, while also using existing relationships and structures to give people who need the tailored support they need to self-isolate.

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