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Contingencies on Contingencies

Trudy Downes —

The time has come. Covid-19 has landed and is visiting people and places near you. Have you got your plan ready for who is going to walk the dog when your household is isolating, and who is going to deliver the bread or milk when you run out during isolation?

The easiest plan to make is to have your nearest and dearest as your back-up crew. They know the dog and what sort of bread you like. However, they were the ones that you had dinner with last night and now they have to isolate too. What is your contingency plan?

If you are relying on your church family to help you through, what happens if the entire parish comes down with Covid-19 at about the same time?

If there is more than one adult in your home, then ideally you want one adult well and operational at any given time as someone will need to be in charge of food supplies, cooking, cleaning and ministering to the ill.

The next challenge we are facing is the effect of rolling household isolations as Covid-19 makes it past our front doors. We want to avoid everyone catching it at the same time at home, at work and at church. We need to make plans for our supplies’ distribution being disturbed because there may be a shortage of truck drivers; only some work can be effectively managed at home!

To manage the risk of entire teams being side-lined with Covid-19, the Connexional Office has split the teams in half, and these new bubbles alternate working in the office each day. And yet, even as I write, someone at the Connexional Office has been identified as a close contact and has therefore left the building. The rest of the work bubble now need to minimise their contact with other people while we wait for the test results from our close-contact colleague. Contact tracing is imperative for the potential contacts of the initial close contact until the test results come in.

If the test result is positive (worst case scenario), the Connexional Office can keep operating. However, the one unannounced visitor we had today has been contact traced to keep them informed of the potential exposure. This is the reality of life as we currently know it. We have to learn about close contacts, casual contacts, household contacts and potential contacts. Lives could depend on it!

To help us out, I have started a Covid-19 Connexional Zoom series where we can meet to discuss a Covid-19 topic, and take the opportunity to ask questions. Topics include what to do if Covid comes to your premises, Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), business continuity, and potentially one on the impact on District Health Boards. The DHBs are now going to be experiencing the full impact of the Omicron outbreak, and may be operating understaffed. This will be the country’s weak point.

I don’t have all the answers to this challenge. All I can suggest is to make a contingency plan for your contingency plan, and then make another contingency plan just to be safe. While we are all thoroughly sick of Covid-19, I do see light at the end of the tunnel and I am positive it is not a freight train.

Information on the Connexional Zoom series is available on our website, along with the Connexional webinar series that has started for 2022. www.methodist.org.nz/tangata/connexional-resources/webinars/

Keep well everyone!