The Government announced on Tuesday that Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at midday on Wednesday 12 August, while the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2. This decision was made after community transmission of the illness was detected in South Auckland.
MidCentral DHB Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said people could be confident that the Palmerston North Hospital and other DHB facilities were still prepared, open and ready for anyone needing healthcare during this time.
“Our hospital and emergency department are essential services and they will remain open to care for our community. If you need care, we are here. We encourage you to still attend appointments, unless you’ve been contacted and informed not to attend, or if you’re feeling unwell. Our operations remain largely business as usual.
Ms Cook said people would be contacted directly if there were any changes to upcoming appointments and procedures but anyone with questions could call 0800 256 963.
Ms Cook said visitors would continue to be welcome, but from midday on Wednesday 12 August some recommendations would be in place at DHB facilities, including Palmerston North Hospital, Horowhenua Health Centre and Te Papaioea Birthing Centre, to ensure safety for patients, visitors and staff.
“In line with the Government’s advice, we recommend that you maintain physical distancing and, if you can, wear a mask or face covering while visiting our facilities. It’s really important that you also continue to uphold high standards of hand hygiene and keep track of where you’ve been by signing in on the COVID Tracer App. Posters are on display in our facilities.
“We ask you to please ensure that you stay home and do not visit us if you are feeling unwell and have any cold or flu-like symptoms.”
MidCentral DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Robert Weir said if you have symptoms of a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, or loss of smell, then you need to call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or contact your GP team, who will be able to assess whether you need a test for COVID-19.
If you need an appointment for testing, you will be advised on the next steps.
Dr Weir said plans were under way to increase capacity for COVID-19 testing across the district, including re-opening the Palmerston North designated testing centre.
“We understand people are anxious to find out further details about testing, but rest assured we are working hard to ensure we can safely increase our capacity to allow everybody who needs to be tested to have access to a test.”
Pop-up testing sites were set up at New World Pioneer and the Pasifika Community Centre last week. Together with testing in general practice, 790 people were tested.
All of the test results were negative, Dr Weir said.