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MidCentral DHB Prepared To Respond To COVID-19

MidCentral DHB will continue to provide essential health services to the community following the Government’s announcement of an escalated Alert Level in response to COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on yesterday that New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 3, effectively immediately on Monday.

MidCentral District Health Board Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said people and whānau could feel reassured that the DHB would still be providing essential and urgent healthcare services to the community during this time.

“I understand this will be an uncertain time for many people in our community but we are doing everything we can to support the MidCentral population at this time.

“Healthcare services are essential and we will continue to provide care to those who need it the most. Our planning and preparation for COVID-19 is ongoing and we have robust systems in place to manage cases of the virus and protect the health of our communities.”

Ms Cook thanked members of the public for their understanding and assistance during this time.

“This is a rapidly changing situation and we do appreciate the understanding of the public as we focus our efforts on COVID-19.”

The Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed a third case of COVID-19 in the MidCentral District Health Board region.

MidCentral DHB’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Robert Weir said the third confirmed case was a woman in her 40s who is self isolating with family in rural Manawatū.

The woman flew from Sydney to Wellington on flight NZ842 on 19 March.

MidCentral DHB’s Public Health Service is working closely with the national contact tracing centre to ensure all close contacts are being followed up.

MidCentral’s first two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Saturday 21 March.

The first case involved a male in his 40s who had contracted the virus following contact with an overseas visitor in Queenstown. The man has been in self-isolation at home with his family since flying back to Palmerston North on 13 March.

The second case involved a woman in her 20s who returned to Palmerston North from overseas on 16 March. The woman has been in isolation at home since her return.

All three individuals were tested at the designated testing facilties in the MidCentral DHB region.

Dr Weir said all confirmed cases had done everything as they should have, by self isolating upon arriving in the region.

Dr Weir said to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the advice remains the same.

“Cover coughs and sneezes, wash and dry your hands thoroughly especially after coughing or sneezing, and stay at home if you are sick.

“If you are experiencing symptoms you should contact the dedicated Healthline number - 0800 358 5453. They will refer you for testing or treatment if necessary.”

MidCentral DHB has brought in stricter measures for visitors to Palmerston North Hospital and Horowhenua Heath Centre. These are to ensure the safety of patients, staff and vistors, and more information can be found on the MDHB website.

Further information about COVID-19 can be found on the Ministry of Health website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

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