From this morning all Hauora Tairāwhiti frontline staff are wearing masks in line with Ministry of Health guidance.
All visitors to Gisborne Hospital - either for an outpatient appointment or to visit someone on the wards – will also be required to wear a mask.
Frontline staff includes orderlies, security guards, cleaners, district nurses, ward staff, allied health staff and anyone who comes into contact with patients.
Mask use is optional for people who are not working in a clinical area and who can easily stay one metre apart from people outside their work bubble.
Hauora Tairawhiti Medical Officer of Health Dr Osman David Mansoor says masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep the community and health care staff safe.
The Government has recently included mask-wearing as a recommendation under level 2 restrictions.
“The resurgence of COVID-19 in New Zealand is a stressful time and we want to ensure we are protecting the community and our staff.”
Dr Mansoor acknowledged that it can be frightening to see someone with a mask on “but you just need to remember that they are wearing a mask to protect you.”
“People can be infectious for two to three days before they show symptoms, and in many cases people are infected without ever showing symptoms.”
“If we all protect others – that’s the best way of also protecting yourself.”
Visitors to the hospital and other facilities are encouraged to bring their own mask, or they will be offered one on entering Hauora Tairawhiti buildings. Homemade masks have been shown to be effective.
Dr Mansoor advised people that if they are wearing a mask they should fit it on their face so it is comfortable. “You need to be able to put it on and ideally not touch it again until you return home.”
Hauora Tairawhiti has plenty of masks in stock for staff and visitors to the hospital and can order more when needed.