Media advisory #13 Two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Whanganui Region - bringing total cases to seven

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3 April 2020 

 

The Ministry of Health has announced two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Whanganui Region, bringing the total to seven confirmed.

 

The two further confirmed cases today are a couple in the Ruapehu District.

 

They arrived in Auckland from the UK on 24 March 2020 and drove to the Ruapehu District the following day. The couple are being fully compliant with self-isolation and are receiving daily welfare checks from the public health team.

 

The public health team is also contact tracing those on the international flight.

 

The person with the probable case in the Whanganui District as of 2 April 2020, who arrived from the Philippines on March 19 2020 – is now confirmed as having COVID-19.

 

This person is following self-isolation restrictions in the Whanganui District along with their partner, who was confirmed as having COVID-19 on 2 April 2020.

 

All seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 are people who have returned to New Zealand from overseas.

 

Public health staff are continuing to monitor and support three other people with COVID-19 in the Ruapehu District, who were identified last week.

 

None of the seven people in the Whanganui Region with confirmed COVID-19 have required hospitalisation.

 

Whanganui District Health Board Chief Executive Russell Simpson urges people in the Whanganui Region to stay at home and follow the Level 4 Alert restrictions.

 

“While the vast majority of the Whanganui Region’s 69,000 residents are following the Alert Level 4 guidelines by staying at home, it is disappointing that there are a small minority who are not. To minimise the impact of COVID-19 in our community, we must stay at home and only venture out for essential services.

 

“Our only line of defence against COVID-19 is preventing community transmission from person to person and ensuring people do not enter and exit their own districts within the Whanganui Region or the region itself unnecessarily. The community will save more lives following this guidance than the health system will save on our own.

 

“This will help keep cases low and minimise the impact of COVID-19 on people and whānau in the Whanganui Region, especially older people and those with other health conditions,” Mr Simpson says.

 

Key Whanganui Region health information 

 

  • A total of seven people have COVID-19 in the Whanganui Region – all who have returned to New Zealand from overseas.
  • Five people are in the Ruapehu District and two are in the Whanganui District.
  • Public Health staff are in daily contact with those people who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and contact tracing will be undertaken.   
  • We ask people to stay home, and to look after themselves, and the people they care most for. By staying home, they can help slow the spread of the virus and break the chain.  
  • We can slow the spread if we all work together. Physical separation of two metres is of the utmost importance outside your bubble, but that does not mean social separation, so keep in touch by other means.  
  • Remember to regularly wash your hands and dry them well.  
  • And always cough and sneeze into your elbow.   
  • Reminder – The only hospital visiting allowed is one visitor for patients: At end stage of life, in the Critical Care Unit, in the Maternity Unit, and in the Children’s Ward. All visitors must be part of the patient’s bubble.  
  • Whanganui Hospital is open 24/7 for critical cases and those patients who need urgent care.  
  • In the Waimarino region a reduced maternity service commenced on Monday, 30 March, 2020, as there is only one midwife available. This means all women due to give birth in the next four weeks will be advised to do so in Whanganui Hospital.  
  • Pregnant women can still have a support person from their bubble during labour and birth, and can hold their new-born skin to skin and share a room with their baby. However, they must wash hands and dry them thoroughly before and after touching their baby. Seeing a midwife for routine and urgent visits is still necessary throughout lockdown. The midwife will do as much consultation as they can over the phone or via video conferencing, and the number of face-to-face visits may be reduced. Please talk to your midwife if you have any queries.  

  

Need assistance during the lockdown  

 

  • For Whanganui call 06 3490001 - this line operates 8am to 5pm with an after-hours response after that.  
  • For Ruapehu south (Waimarino) call 06 3858364 – this line operates 24/7.  

 

For more information    

 

  • To keep up to date with local information about important health services in the Whanganui Region visit facebook.com/whanganuidhb/or www.wdhb.org.nz    
  • Te Ranga Tupua Collective Iwi Response – phone 0800 202 004 for help, advice and support for whānau in the Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu, Otaihape and South Taranaki Region   
  • For national information visit govt.nz/covid-19  or covid19.govt.nz    

 

 If you are unwell   

 

  • Phone the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453.   
  • If you are going to your general practice (GP) - phone first.   
  • If you are so unwell you need to come to Whanganui Hospital’s emergency department –please phone first.