Wairoa Mayor Craig Little has urged local people to look after each other as more people self-isolate and events are cancelled to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Little said maintaining empathy for each other and community connections was especially important for people who are limiting their social interaction.
As we prepare to move to Level Four in the COVID-19 alert system it is paramount people stay safe and look after each other.
Mr Little knows first-hand the effects of self-isolation and of losing contact with other people.
He and his wife Jan are currently self-isolating as a precautionary measure as they returned from a holiday in Australia last week.
“We’re very mindful that those everyday ways we all connect with other people – through events, sports, clubs and hobbies – are no longer an option for many.
“That is why it is so important that we, as a community, can all come together to check on our most vulnerable people, and to make sure we all take care of each and every one of us during this time.”
Mr Little said as well as taking health precautions such as washing hands and self-isolating if there was any risk of coming into contact with the disease, the best way to get through the pandemic was to find other ways to connect.
“We’re all in this together – in our workplaces, schools, communities, families and whānau.
“As people limit their social interaction and stay home, they need to think about medications, as well as food, pet food and other essential supplies and how you can access them and to balance that against panic buying.
“Friendships and connections are very important in our lives and it is difficult when they’re missing.
“Technology can’t replace the power of human connection, but there are ways of staying connected that will help.
“I encourage people to stay at home and take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with the flu.
“Stay in contact with your family and friends. Help them set up online shopping if they haven’t already. Give them a call or chat to them online.
“And for those who need help, don’t be afraid to ask. If you need supplies while you are staying at home, ask friends or family to drop off anything you need, or order supplies online. Stock up gradually and responsibly – don’t hoard. Other people need supplies also and there is plenty to go around. If you take any medicine, talk to your doctor about extending prescriptions or any other special needs you might have.
“Taking care of each other is often something we're really good at but asking for help is something many of us do not find easy.
“We’ve got a great community here in Wairoa – let’s keep that spirit alive as we all get through these troubling times together.”
For more information on COVID-19, visit www.covid19.govt.nz
23 March 2020
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