BOP health system gearing up for COVID-19 response

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Interim Chief Executive Simon Everitt. Photo/Video: BOPDHB

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The Bay of Plenty health system is gearing up for a COVID-19 response.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Interim Chief Executive Simon Everitt is reassuring the community about the health system’s preparedness to quickly respond to any risk of COVID-19 in the Bay of Plenty DHB region.

“Our COVID-19 response includes the whole health system – our hospitals, General Practices across the region who are responding to large volumes of people requesting testing, our Aged Care providers who are working hard to keep our most vulnerable people safe,

"Pathlab who are processing large volumes of COVID-19 tests for our community, home and community support workers caring for people with care needs in the community, our Kaupapa Maori providers, and so the list goes on.

“The BOPDHB is also working together as part of a network of 20 DHBs and the Ministry of Health to ensure that the health system is responding in a coordinated and effective way and are responding to the most up to date information.

“It is only through the concerted effort of the whole health system team that we will stamp out and manage this virus.”

“Across the DHB’s four focus areas of work – community care, hospital services, public health services, communications - we also have our Maori Health Gains and Development team supporting our Maori populations, iwi and marae to make sure our Maori population are being well supported.

“I am really proud of the concerted effort of the health system to pull together at this time of heightened need. I want to thank our health providers for working with us in a collaborative way despite their environment often being really challenging during alert levels.”

Simon also expressed his thanks to the public for their understanding and patience as they continue to provide usual health services while also responding to the pandemic.

Interim Board Chair Sharon Shea has every confidence in the team of very skilled people at the Bay of Plenty District Heath Board.

“On behalf of the Board, I want to encourage you all to be kind, look after yourselves and your whanau, and check in on our elderly or pakeke if you can. We’ve been here before and together, we will get through it again," says Sharon.

COVID-19 Testing

This week in Tauranga and Whakatane, since the outbreak in Auckland was announced, there has been a significant increase in testing. The Bay of Plenty DHB is monitoring the numbers of people presenting for testing and will look to set up dedicated testing sites as required.

The public is being asked to continue seeking medical advice for COVID-19 symptoms through their GP in the first instance. If people are symptomatic they should contact their GP or Healthline.

Contact Tracing

Mr Everitt also reinforced the importance of downloading the NZ COVID Tracer app if you haven’t already done so, and to start using it immediately to record your movements. The app is an easy way to keep a record, but if you can't download the app, make sure to make a note of where you go and who you see. Tauranga and Whakatane hospitals have QR codes for patients and visitors to scan or contact tracing cards available to fill out.

What are the COVID-19 symptoms?

Symptoms include:

• a cough
• a high temperature of at least 38°C
• shortness of breath
• sore throat
• sneezing and runny nose
• temporary loss of smell.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu. Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

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