Level 2 priorities for health

We are now in alert-level 2 as there have been four cases in a household in Auckland with no clear exposures.  This means the virus has been spreading in Auckland. It may have spread to other parts of the country.  We hope to get more information on possible sources for the investigations in Auckland, says Hauora Tairāwhiti Medical Officer of Health Dr Osman David Mansoor. 

 “One priority for the district is early detection of any case. If you have respiratory symptoms and were out of the district for any time in the previous two weeks, please call your GP to arrange a test.”

 We are at level-2 now, which also means that gatherings are limited to 100 people.  However, if there are any indoor gatherings, mask-wearing would be advisable.  Wearing a mask will help prevent spread from those who do not have symptoms.  “Act as though you may have COVID,” reminds Dr Mansoor.

 Hauora Tairāwhiti has been planning for a resurgence in COVID in Tairāwhiti, “We have reviewed how we responded last time and refined our plans. As a result, we have increased the number of people who are trained in contact tracing and also where and how we will step up community testing as required.” 

“Contact tracing will be key to any response need here. Could you easily remember everywhere you have been over the last 14 days? Most people couldn’t. That is why it is so important to use a tool that can help you. I urge you to download NZ COVID Tracer to create a digital diary of places you visit by scanning the official QR codes. The tracker will help contact tracers to isolate anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 quickly.”

The other priority is good hygiene behaviour for all of us.  This means minimising close contacts -   keep distance (2metres) when you can; wash your hands before you touch your face.  A new aspect of hygiene is mask-wearing when you leave home; especially if you have been out of the district recently or if you have any respiratory symptoms. 

At Gisborne Hospital no health services are being cancelled at alert level 2, says Hauora Tairāwhiti Acting Chief Executive Lynsey Bartlett. “None of our visiting specialists are from Auckland or anywhere with isolation facilities. Anyone unwell should not come to the Hospital. We will be looking at screening people who are visiting and have been out of the district recently.”

All these decisions will be reviewed as we learn more about the current outbreak of COVID.


- regularly wash your hands

- sneeze into your elbow

- keep at least 1-metre physical distance from others

- stay home if you are sick

- call your GP if you have any respiratory symptoms

- say yes to the test if you are offered one

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