With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 now spreading in Aotearoa/NZ people are wondering what happens if they catch Covid-19 prior to planned elective surgery. The guidelines from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists recommend that for planned (elective) surgery:
- Minor surgery is delayed for at least 4 weeks after a Covid-19 infection.
- Major surgery is delayed for at least 7 weeks after a Covid-19 infection with repeat clinical assessment needed prior to surgery. Please note this includes all bariatric surgery.
Although Omicron is spreading fast, it is still possible to minimise this risk of becoming infected with Covid-19, and this becomes particularly important for people who have an upcoming surgery date planned. Remembering that Covid-19 spreads via the air people breathe in and out, particularly in poorly ventilated indoor environments, the following measures will reduce your risk of developing a Covid-19 infection:
- Wearing a well fitting N95/KN95 or P2 respirator mask whenever you are in an indoor environment with other people not in your household
- Limit the amount of time you spend in crowded indoor environments
- If you plan on going out to a cafe or restaurant, choose a nice day and sit outside before removing your mask
- Having your two Covid-19 vaccinations and your booster dose if you are eligible; people who have had all three doses are 75% less likely to develop symptomatic Omicron Covid-19 compared with people who are unvaccinated
Unfortunately we do anticipate that some people will catch Covid-19 prior to surgery despite taking all possible precautions, and also some surgery disruptions will occur when hospital staff members become sick with Covid-19. Please contact us immediately if you do contract Covid-19 while awaiting surgery to give us a much time as possible to arrange for repeat clinical assessment and schedule a new surgery date. We will also be doing our best to minimise disruptions and to re-schedule people’s surgery dates as soon as this can be done safely.
Kia tautoko tatou ia tatou katoa.
Be strong, be kind, and support one another.