Health community ready to respond

As New Zealand enters a nationwide Alert Level 4 lockdown from midnight last night, Hauora Tairāwhiti has responded by activating an Emergency Operations Centre.

The lockdown comes after a single positive cases of COVID-19 were identified in the Auckland region; since then a further four cases have been confirmed – all linked to the first case. There are no COVID-19 cases in Tairāwhiti. Locations of interest will be regularly updated on the Ministry of Health website.

“We are doing all the we can to ensure that Tairāwhiti health services are ready to respond to COVID-19 should it reach our district”, says Hauora Tairāwhiti Chief Executive Jim Green.

Under the Alert Level 4 lockdown, a no visiting policy remains in place at Gisborne Hospital and most surgeries and elective procedures will be postponed. If you are required to attend Gisborne Hospital for an urgent appointment, you will be screened at the entrance and must wear a face mask upon entering.

The Hauora Tairāwhiti Public Health Team leads the response if there are any positive COVID-19 tests in Tairāwhiti. If you are unwell and experiencing respiratory symptoms, you can receive a swab at the community testing centre at 295 Palmerston road, between City’s Choice Dairy and JA Russell.  Tests are only for those with symptoms or who have been at a location of interest.

“The contacts of anyone who tested positive would be immediately followed up whether there was a school or any other organisation involved. In the case of a school the Public Health team would work with parents and the principal to isolate close contacts and advise other members of the school community,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr Osman David Mansoor.  “We all need to act as though we are infectious – about half of spread is from those without symptoms.  So, please keep up hygiene, and wear a mask when you are in a room or close to people not your bubble."

“We have trained teams of contact tracers ready to go to make sure we can identify everyone that may be affected. That is why I recommend keeping a diary of where you have been or downloading the NZ COVID Tracer App(external link) and scanning QR codes as you enter any business or organisation.”

 “Anxiety around the resurgence of COVID-19 and the new Delta variant is increasing. This is to be expected. However, it is important to remember there are things we can all do to help keep ourselves safe. Keep washing and drying your hands regularly and thoroughly, sneeze or cough into your elbow, and wear a face covering. Wearing a mask is advised whenever sharing air with those outside your bubble; this is in addition to staying1-2 metres distant from others.”

Strike action planned for Thursday this week by New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO) and Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service (MERAS) members at Gisborne Hospital has been withdrawn.

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