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We are constantly planning and following Ministry of Health advice regarding community and staff health and this includes the potential to reduce services or close non-essential community facilities.

We will let the community know immediately of any changes to services or facility operations in relation to COVID-19.

Council encourages the community to follow the advice, guidance and direction of the Ministry of Health and the Government in their role as the lead agencies.

 

Official information and updates

Traffic light settings are now in place for all of Aotearoa.

More information about the traffic light settings can be found here.

For the latest official Government information about everything related to COVID-19 go to Unite against COVID-19

For health advice and information contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) or visit the Ministry of Health website

 

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Find out more about the status of:

UPDATES

Remain vigilant

The whole of New Zealand is now in the COVID-19 Orange Traffic Light setting.

This change came into effect at midnight on Wednesday April 13 and offers flexibility while protecting the country’s health systems and hospitals.

Orange reflects a reduction in risk to the public health system. Under the Orange traffic light there are no longer capacity limits for indoor or outdoor settings, face masks are still required in most of the same indoor settings as for red, apart from at schools, where they are encouraged but no longer required across the board.

Under the Orange traffic light, shoppers will still have to wear masks at supermarkets and stores.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said while he knows people are welcoming the lessening of restrictions, everyone needs to remain vigilant.

“Particularly, as we approach the winter months, we could see an additional surge in influenza and potentially in Covid-19.” He urged members of the community to remain as protected as possible and follow the safety procedures that remain in place to protect communities.

 

 

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Remain vigilant

Wairoa’s COVID-19 cases have plateaued after an end of March peak of around 600 residents being affected by the virus.

Wairoa had around 144 reported active cases as at yesterday (Monday 11.04.22), with just 10 of them new cases.

However, a single event could see a further rise in case numbers and people are reminded to stay vigilant.

Local health professionals are urging everybody who is eligible to get their booster vaccinations and also for tamariki aged 5-11 to get vaccinated. If you are aged 16 or 17 you can now also get a COVID-19 booster six months after your second vaccination.

Wairoa’s tamariki 5-11 years vaccination rate is well behind the Hawke’s Bay average and both Queen St Practice and Kahungunu Executive are urging parents, grandparents and carers to give them a call and book an appointment to have their children vaccinated.

Queen St Practice has seen cases where people have become really sick from COVID-19, including children, with the best way to protect yourself from the virus and minimise the symptoms being through double vaccination and a booster vaccination.

There is also nationwide concern that with New Zealand’s borders now open people travelling into the country will bring a fresh range of illnesses with them, particularly the flu, with New Zealand effectively experiencing no flu season over the past two years while the borders were closed.

Everyone is encouraged to have a flu vaccination this year. The Queen St Practice is providing free flu vaccinations. Please phone the Practice on 06 838 8333 to make your flu vaccination appointment. A drive through flu vaccine clinic will be held at the Queen Street Practice on Wednesday, April 13, from 10am.

If you have symptoms and think you might have COVID-19, please isolate and order a RAT test by heading to requestrats.covid19.health.nz or phoning 0800 222478. If you test positive please ring Queen St Practice so your health needs can be monitored.

RAT tests can be collected from the Queen St Practice and Wairoa Pharmacy and Kahungunu Executive is also providing supervised RAT testing by appointment.

Please remember to wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing and if you are sick stay home.

To book your vaccination appointments phone the Queen St Practice on 06 838 8333 or Kahungunu Executive on 0800 621 700.

Kia Ū tonu Wairoa – Remain Resilient Wairoa.

Council to lift Vaccine Pass requirements from April 5

In line with the Government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework, the Wairoa District Council will lift its Vaccine Pass requirements from Tuesday, April 5.

Some of the updated traffic light settings began from midnight last Friday with the Government focus on making life simpler and closer to normal but retaining the guidelines that are most effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting people.

Council buildings that will no longer require Vaccine Passes from Tuesday, April 5 will include the Council’s main Queen Street office building, Library, i-Site and Gaiety Theatre.

The Wairoa Museum has not used the Vaccine Pass system, and from yesterday (March 28) no longer required visitors to scan in with their QR code. 

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said the updated framework will help people manage life with Omicron while reducing the impact of future outbreaks. 

“Protecting our community remains paramount. We acknowledge some people, including our own Council staff, will be concerned with these changes, and we are working to ensure possible exposure risk is mitigated as much as possible.

“For the past two years the COVID-19 pandemic has seen us living in a rapidly changing world. No longer requiring a Vaccine Pass from April 5 will allow time for our staff and members of the public to transition into this next stage.

“We will continue to review the risks for as long as the pandemic continues. We are mindful that new variants may appear and will continue to be ready to respond to future changes.

“I would like to thank the community in advance for their co-operation and patience as they transition to this next stage. This has been a challenging time for our entire community, and these changes are a positive step to getting back to as normal as possible.”

Also, in line with the new framework, Council will no longer require people to scan their QR code.

Mr Tipuna reminded people that while the changes include no limits for outdoor activities, such as gatherings and events, and food and drink businesses and an increase to 200 people for indoor gatherings and events, My Vaccine Passes must be used until 11:59pm on 4 April.

If My Vaccine Passes are not used, the gathering limits remain unchanged.

There are also relaxations relating to masks where you do not need to wear a face mask outdoors, but other face mask rules remain unchanged and face masks are still required in most indoor settings.

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17.03.22 v2 Iso support ad 18cm x 26cm copy

Wairoa’s welfare system has your back

As COVID-19 cases grow locally, so too has the strength of Wairoa’s support system.

Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae is Wairoa’s recognised welfare support hub with iwi-based satellite hubs in Nuhaka and Mahia.

Support is available for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and has to isolate. The only stipulation is that your positive result is able to be verified by a GP, is registered on the https://mycovidrecord.health.nz/ or a RAT test is verified by an employer or health professional.

Initial support includes providing food and hygiene packs and support to develop isolation plans and connect you with resources to help you through the isolation period.

Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae says when someone tests positive, often they just need a hand at the beginning so they can cope during the isolation period. “We help people put plans in place and make connections for whatever their needs are. It might be arranging whānau to help with contactless food delivery, linking them up with WINZ, or just making sure there is someone checking in on them.”

The welfare service also includes daily check in phone calls up to day three, or more if whānau request the service.

“Our role is to enable people to support themselves. We are not continually dropping off kai packages as we did during lockdown. This time we are focussing on helping those who have tested positive to be in a position to be able to support themselves while they are isolating. The initial kai and hygiene packs are just to tide people over while they get their plans in place.”

Around 100 packs have been delivered over the past coupe of weeks with demand increasing daily.

Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae Whānau Ora Wairoa extend a big thanks to those local organisations which are already helping out and others that have volunteered to help.

 

For assistance please contact:

 

Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae Whānau Ora Wairoa

Email: reremoana.houkamau@twmot.co.nz

Phone 0272459072

 

Rongomaiwahine Iwi Charitable Trust

Email: koreromai@rongomaiwahine.iwi.nz 

Phone 0800100967

 

Te iwi o Rakaipaaka

Email: info@ngatirakaipaaka.iwi.nz 

Phone 0272137784

 

OR phone Work and Income's COVID-19 welfare line on 0800 512 337 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

 

For more info visit the Wairoa District Council Fb page or website #COVID-19

https://www.wairoadc.govt.nz/our-council/covid-19/

 

Stay safe whānau

Being vaccinated and following the COVID-19 guidelines are key to keeping our community safe says Wairoa Mayor Craig Little.

“Vaccinating, testing, isolating, mask wearing, hand washing and staying home as much as possible will all go towards limiting the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Thank you to those people who are being careful and remaining in isolation. It is your vigilance that is helping keep our community safe.”

Mr Little said it was disappointing to read recent media coverage around about what could happen if the COVID-19 virus rapidly spreads through Wairoa. “We already know we are vulnerable with limited hospital in-patient beds and no intensive care unit or ventilators. Being isolated and having limited resources is what we are used to. We need to stay resilient and make up for what we haven’t got by keeping our communities as safe as possible.”

Mr Little said it was also irresponsible of the media to fall back on Wairoa’s pandemic plan that was developed in November last year. “That was four months ago before Omicron was even in New Zealand, and our vaccination rates were a lot lower than they are now.

“Modelling in the pandemic plan was a snapshot at that time to help us plan as best as possible. It’s about planning for the worst result but working towards creating the best result. Nationwide, COVID planning and modelling has been all over the place because this is unchartered. No one knows what is going to happen, which is why we are all working hard to keep our people as safe as possible.

“What is happening in our town is no different to community transmission in any other place across the country. People just have to remember that Covid-19 is here, and we cannot be complacent.”

As at Monday, Wairoa had 283 positive COVID-19 cases as reported by the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board. That equates to around 3.26 % of our population using Statistics NZ data.  

This figure is below the total Hawke’s Bay average positive COVID -19 figure of 4.25% and Tairawhiti figure of 8.3%.

“This demonstrates currently Wairoa is holding its own, we know there are challenges ahead of us and no one knows what the future will bring, but at the moment we are doing okay and need to keep this up.

“I urge anyone who hasn't been vaccinated to do so, most of the cases who I know personally are fully vaccinated people, and they have recovered pretty quickly.

“I have heard some wonderful stories about our community coming together to support whānau and friends who have been impacted by COVID and are, or have had to, isolate.

“Whānau and friends offering to do shopping, cooking meals and dropping them off, or just ringing and checking and seeing how each other is. This is what it means to be Wairoa - we come together as a community to support each other when we need to, and it makes me proud to be part of this community.

“I want to also acknowledge our social service agencies that are supporting our communities. In particular our rural hubs, our iwi partners, Kahungunu Executive and the vaccination team, our staff at MSD, Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae and many more.

“You see the best of who we are as a community when we pull together to support each other.”

As the COVID-19 Omicron variant moves throughout New Zealand it is important people follow the self-isolation rules

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a cough, sneezing and runny nose, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath you should isolate and arrange for a test.

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATS) can be ordered online at RequestRats.Covid19.health.nz and collected from the Queen Street Practice and the Wairoa Pharmacy. Unfortunately, while the pharmacy is a collection site and RATS tests have been ordered, the pharmacy has still not yet been supplied with any tests.

Alternatively phone the Queen Street Practice on 06 838 8333 and arrange for a family member or friend who does not have symptoms to collect the test.

Due to high demand for the RATS tests, the Queen Street Practice encourages people to only order a test if you are symptomatic and/or household contacts. Please note, the Queen Street Practice is not supplying RATS tests for staff surveillance testing.

For people carrying out a RATS test, the instructions are on the packet and results are visible within about 20 minutes from testing.

If you test positive, please phone the Queen Street Practice so your risk factors and symptoms can be managed by health professionals.

If you have symptoms and have no one to collect a test on your behalf, please phone the Queen Street Practice (06 838 8333) to make an appointment for the 1.30pm contactless collection clinic and drive to Gate 3, off Kitchener Street at the hospital site.   

For those returning a positive result, you and everyone in your household will need to self-isolate.

If you test negative but have symptoms, stay home and test again 24 hours later. If you test negative again and still have symptoms contact a health professional for support.

If you are a close contact but not experiencing symptoms monitor yourself and limit your contact with other people.

While self-isolating, food and supplies must be contactless delivery. This can be arranged online or ask friends, whānau and neighbours to help.

You will need to tell people that you have COVID-19, and your household is isolating.

For most people, COVID-19 will be mild to moderate and able to be managed at home.

If your symptoms get worse or you need urgent medical care call the Queen Street Practice on 06 838 8333 or Healthline on 0800 3585453.

If your whānau need extra support while you are self-isolating Work and Income may be able to help with money for essential costs, supplies and support. For more information, please call the COVID Welfare line on 0800 512 337.

 

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Supporting our community

We ask our community to check in on each other and be kind. People will have different experiences during this period. Whatever you’re feeling — it’s okay. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.

COVID-19 impact on local businesses

Managing the impact of COVID-19, particularly the Omicron variant, on your business can be challenging.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Kitea Tipuna said Council is available to assist businesses with any information or support they many need.

“The government has been rolling out a lot of information, and it is constantly changing, and for some businesses it may be hard to keep up with your business as usual as well as trying to keep pace with the changes announced by the government and trawling through all the relevant information to support businesses during COVID-19 times.

“Council’s role is not to set the COVID-19 related rules and guidelines. But we do want to support our local businesses and are happy to help if needed. These last two years have been very challenging, and I admire the resilience our local business owners have shown.

“Now that we are in Phase Three, isolation will become less limited and testing can be carried out via RATS. However, we are also facing more COVID-19/Omicron positive cases and that will have an impact on local businesses. 

“We encourage our business community to have a plan for COVID-19, particularly the Omicron variant affecting your workers, suppliers or customers, and do everything you can to protect your workplace workers and community.

“This is also a great opportunity for local people to support their local businesses, tautoko Wairoa and spend locally.”

Mr Tipuna also suggested businesses inquire to see if they are eligible for the Close Contact Exemption Scheme. This is part of the Omicron response where workers at registered critical services who are identified as Household Contacts may continue to work.

Critical services included in the exemption scheme include:

  • food production and its supply chain 
  • key public services like health and emergency services 
  • lifeline utilities such as power and water supplies 
  • transport 
  • critical financial services 
  • news media 
  • social welfare 
  • human and animal health and welfare.

Businesses and organisations can self-assess and sign up to the scheme on business.govt.nz

For any local businesses needing assistance, please phone the Council offices on 06 838 7309 and Council officers will help where they can.

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Vax clinic Star 17.02.22

Kia U tonu Wairoa Final V

 

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Status of Council Facilities and Services

Everyone can access basic needs services, like supermarkets, pharmacies and healthcare.
We will continue to update and review our policy as the situation around COVID-19 evolves.

To allow the Wairoa District Council to operate safely and effectively under the Traffic Light System, the Council's Main Office Building, the Library, the i-Site, the Gaiety Theatre and the Water Treatment Plant sites will use the My Vaccine Pass system, this will include verifying vaccine passports.

Therefore, Council will require:
• That visitors and contractors visiting the Wairoa District Council sites must have a valid vaccination passport.
• All vaccinations passports must be verified using the NZ Govt COVID verifier app prior to accessing the Wairoa District Council sites.
• Photo ID may be required as part of the verification process.

The below Council facilities will be open and will be operating under the current COVID-19 guidelines. Normal operating hours will apply unless stated otherwise:
  • Council Office
  • Freedom Camping Sites
  • Funerals (in keeping with government guidelines)
  • The Gaiety Theatre
  • iSite
  • Landfill
  • Library (click & collect only from 16 February 2022)
  • Community Centre (bookings required, for more information see https://www.facebook.com/wairoacommunitycentre/)
  • Mountain Bike Park
  • All Playgrounds
  • Public Toilets
  • Recycling collections
  • Refuse collections - only pre-paid refuse bags will be accepted from Monday 13 September 2021
  • Water Fountains

More information, financial support, essential services etc.

More information about financial support, essential services, questions & answers and up to date information about the situation can be found on www.covid19.govt.nz

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