Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today activated its full-scale COVID-19 emergency response structure following positive COVID-19 cases being reported in neighbouring Lakes and Tararua districts at the weekend.
Chief Executive Keriana Brooking said while Hawke’s Bay was yet to return any positive COVID-19 test results, it was only a matter of time before COVID-19 reached the region.
“COVID-19 and the highly infectious Delta variant has continued to make its way south of Auckland with cases now on either side of our region in the Lakes and Tararua districts,” said Mrs Brooking.
“This is now very close to home as places such as Rotorua, Taupo, Dannevirke, Woodville, Pahiatua or Fielding are places where Hawke’s Bay people travel to and from regularly.
“We may not have positive cases confirmed for Hawke’s Bay just yet, but we could already have undetected cases.
“Our region now needs to respond as if we have COVID-19 in our community,” she said.
Mrs Brooking said activating the DHB’s full-scale structure meant systems for a whole-of-community response were standing up to support managing future cases.
“As a region we came together during the 2020 outbreak with health and disability providers, emergency services, welfare supports, Iwi, councils and community leaders working together to look after our people.
“Welfare is a vital response function during a pandemic, particularly if people need to remain in isolation and require wraparound health and food supports, so this work is now being revisited so teams are ready to go.”
Mrs Brooking said Hawke’s Bay health system’s pandemic planning was robust and would now go up another gear.
“Our primary health, iwi and hauora providers have been out there doing the mahi alongside the DHB throughout this pandemic both with testing and the vaccination rollout.
“From today more drive-in COVID-19 testing opportunities will open throughout the region with multiple opportunities for no-appointment testing today in Marewa, Takapau and Waipukurau, complemented by booking capacity across all testing sites across the region.
Mrs Brooking said the vaccination rollout will continue its momentum and Hawke’s Bay Hospital was ready to mobilise to care for COVID-19 patients, should it need to.