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COVID-19 Statement From West Coast DHB

Please attribute comment to David Meates, Chief Executive, West Coast DHB:

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the announcement made by Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield today, confirming a woman in her 70s has passed away early this morning on the West Coast.

The woman was one of three cases of COVID-19 confirmed on the West Coast so far.

We express our deepest sympathies to the woman’s family and ask that their request for privacy is respected.

Staff followed protocols and procedures and did everything they could to help this patient, and to protect themselves.

As a precaution 21 DHB staff members who were involved in caring for this woman in Greymouth Hospital are self-isolating for 14 days as they have been in close contact with a person who didn’t initially meet the case definition for COVID-19.

West Coast DHB has worked to ensure appropriate staffing arrangements are in place to replace these team members and ensure that we can continue to provide health services to the West Coast community.

Prevention – how to protect yourself and others with good hygiene

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell (try to stay at least 2 metres away)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid personal contact with sick people, such as kissing and sharing cups or food.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Practice low-touch shopping. Do not handle things you are not buying, keep your distance, be aware of how you are touching things like bank cards, money, ATMs and Eftpos machines. Wash your hands after touching things like this as soon as you can.
  • If you are a business or provide a service: Increase your cleaning routine in between customers.
  • People living in communal spaces must be especially careful with distancing, cleaning and general hygiene.

Physical distancing is essential

  • Try to put physical distance (two metres) between yourself and other people in public places such as supermarkets.
  • Be kind to others: Make it easy for them to keep 2m from you – eg, keep a 2m space in front of you in a supermarket queue, and stay 2m back from counters and reception desks.

Please stay home

  • Do not go into any public places if you are feeling unwell and minimise close contact even in your home – ring ahead if you need a service.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have undertaken any overseas travel in the past 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. Please do not go directly to a pharmacy, GP clinic, urgent care centre or emergency department.

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