As we begin on our COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lock down journey it is important to think about other people.
This is only day one of what will be many long weeks as the country unites to eradicate this terrible virus.
A national state of emergency was declared on Wednesday, 25 March, to manage the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. The Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is providing welfare support for people struggling to access essential services.
Council will keep its website and our Facebook page up to date with all the latest information.
Even though the majority of people are staying home there is a lot of behind the scenes work going on to ensure our district keeps ticking.
Council will maintain its essential services throughout Alert Level 4 (e.g. waste and drinking water, landfill & recycling centre, rubbish and recycling collection, some public toilets, roading, animal control, civil defence, etc.).
Our Council met on Tuesday and we have the capacity to hold more remote meetings.
Community leaders throughout the region, and at a local level, are working together to ensure our essential services are being delivered.
I would like to extend a big shout out to all our health professionals, front line staff and those who are keeping our essential services running.
None of what we are trying to achieve would be possible without you.
I know there are holidaymakers who have become stranded and our thoughts are with you.
For anyone caught out in a self-contained vehicle who is unable to return home please still follow the rules. You need have to remain camped up and isolated.
I remember back to my years travelling through the UK and Europe, monitoring the national news was not a priority and with New Zealand’s isolation, and perhaps a language barrier, I can understand how holidaymakers could become stranded.
Freedom campers are people and they need protecting, just like the rest of us. Wairoa is well known for its Manaakitanga, or hospitality, and I know that if the Freedom Campers who have ended up in our district were your whanau overseas you would want them treated well.
If you are a Freedom Camper, or you are reading this and you know where there are Freedom Campers, the advice is to contact the police and they will provide the best advice.
The rule now is to stay home, restrict movements and only people who are required for essential services can leave their homes. Please restrict your movement around the district. The best advice is to simply stay home and self-isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been putting out some tremendous messaging. Lines like ‘stay in your bubble’ and ‘act as if you have the virus’ are really helpful.
By sticking to your bubble if you don’t have the virus you are reducing your risk of getting it and if you do have the virus you are reducing your chance of spreading it.
In Wairoa the supermarket, pharmacy, and most dairies and petrol stations will remain open.
There is no need to stockpile supplies, and don’t forget the numbers of people allowed into the supermarket will be restricted at any one time.
A dedicated COVID-19 testing station is being set up in Wairoa and should be fully operational by tomorrow.
People can only be tested at the Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC) with a referral. Patients must first phone their GP or Healthline: 0800 358 5453.
That referral will be sent to the CBAC team, which will contact the patient to arrange a test.
In Wairoa, the CBAC will be a drive through style and patients will need to enter the hospital grounds through Gate 3 in their cars (rear entrance) and follow the signs to the laboratory entrance. They will stay in their car and staff wearing personal protection equipment will advise them of the next steps.
It is important to note that CBACs are not drop-in centres. People who arrive at a CBAC without a referral will be redirected to their GP or Healthline.
For more information visit www.covid19.govt.nz for up to date information and watch the live updates on tv or listen to the radio and stay up to date through Council’s website and Facebook page.
Stay safe Wairoa, follow the rules. My thoughts are with you all.
27 March 2020
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