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Marlborough Express - 2021-07-23

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‘Community MIQ’ service created

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Health officials are setting up a service to help people isolate in the top of the south in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19 in the community. The region’s DHB has advertised a position, in Nelson or Blenheim, to design and implement a ‘‘local community managed isolation plan’’ should community cases re-emerge. Aims of the 12-month contract at Nelson Marlborough Health included providing suitable accommodation for people who needed support to self-isolate, the job ad said. Other goals were to ensure cases/contacts at ‘‘high risk for non-compliance’’ were provided access to managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQF). The position was part of a nationwide community managed isolation and quarantine scheme, in the event of an outbreak in areas without MIQ facilities, the Government said on Wednesday. Director-general of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said DHBS had been asked to look at what arrangements they could get in place locally, to be able to safely isolate cases and contacts of cases. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government was looking at longer term ‘‘alternative isolation options’’ to MIQF, which could include selfisolating at home for people returning from overseas. It followed requests from businesses and universities who said they could run their own isolation processes, as well as people who wanted to isolate at home, rather than go into MIQF. ‘‘They haven’t suited us up to this point because of all the logistics involved and the increased risk involved in them, but as we look to a different kind of approach to Covid-19 risks, as the proportion of people vaccinated is higher [and] as the spread of Covid-19 around the rest of the world starts to turn down ... all different kinds of possibilities come back onto the table,’’ Hipkins said. In response to requests for information about the Nelson Marlborough Health position, the Ministry of Health told Stuff the service was not an MIQ Facility. Community cases and contacts whose needs were best met in MIQF would continue to be transferred there, the ministry said. . Most people who were required to self-isolate could do so safely at home, a spokesperson said.

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