BOP health leader thunders dismay at gathering
Bay of Plenty District Health Board CEO Pete Chandler has come out scathing on Twitter at Saturday’s public gathering at Memorial Park.
"Why would anyone stand in the path of a hurtling freight train and say 'I dare you'," thunders Pete in his tweet.
Hundreds of people assembled at the park to made a stand about 'freedoms' with very little social distancing, and no mask wearing apparent.
Pete's Twitter comments convey the sense of disheartenment that he believes will be felt by hundreds of health care workers who have been working intently across the Bay of Plenty to prevent the spread of Covid-19 with vaccinations clinics and testing.
The gathering at Memorial Park on Saturday October 30. Photo: Aaron Stuart-Menzies.
“My prediction of our outbreak by 30th November [is] probably too optimistic,” he writes further in his tweet, acknowledging the impending sense that many medical and healthcare workers have that its only a matter of time before the Delta virus breaks out in the Bay of Plenty region.
And all the healthcare teams across the Bay scream "Please noooo". My prediction of our outbreak by 30th November probably too optimistic. Why would anyone stand in the path of a hurtling freight train and say 'I dare you'.... #covid19nz #tauranga #sunlive https://t.co/xMcEX88v39— Pete Chandler (@bopdhb_ceo) October 30, 2021
“It was deeply disturbing to see the huge crowds that gathered in Tauranga yesterday,” says Pete. “It may well have been a nice day out for many that attended but I can assure you that the Bay of Plenty Health Network is incredulous at this reckless and irresponsible event being held at this time of immense vulnerability for the Bay.
“Across our hospitals, Hauora providers, GP practices, medical centres, aged residential care and pharmacies we are all doing everything we can to support as many people as possible being safely vaccinated, applying maximum safeguards to prevent COVID getting into our facilities and to be as ready as we can to care for the unvaccinated who the virus will target.”
Pete says that over 95 per cent of the current delta outbreak hospital admissions are unvaccinated people.
“At current levels of vaccination across the Bay of Plenty, if delta hits in coming days and we are unable to contain it we have an extremely serious situation on our hands,” says Pete.
“This really is a race against the virus which is closing in around us and so we'd urge those who haven't yet got vaccinated to please, please do so while there is time. This is not a game and there is no undo button.”
Pete also tweeted on Saturday in response to a tweet by someone who says they are unable to go to their dermatologist for skin cancer treatment as they have not been vaccinated.
“Folks, are you not seeing what’s happened all over the world? The freedom we all want is in front of us as soon as we're safely vaccinated. Aside from some of our smallest rural communities nearly everyone's had the opportunity now but it's not too late,” wrote Pete in his tweet.
Folks, are you not seeing what's happened all over the world? The freedom we all want is in front of us as soon as we're safely vaccinated. Aside from some of our smallest rural communities nearly everyone's had the opportunity now but it's not too late https://t.co/Sn975qvxAx— Pete Chandler (@bopdhb_ceo) October 30, 2021
Saturday’s gathering at Memorial Park was made up of hundreds of people who were not practising social distancing or wearing masks, greatly increasing the likelihood of the Covid-19 virus being transmitted.
The gathering at Memorial Park on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.
“Events like yesterday significantly increase the risk of our first outbreak and it's like taunting the virus to come and get us,” says Pete.
“Without mask wearing and distancing, having so many people together in one place is indeed like standing in front of a hurtling freight train and saying ‘I dare you’.
“We may be lucky and dodge yet another bullet in the Bay however if we get any cases from yesterday's event- assuming that there was no tracer app use - it would be highly unlikely that we would be able to contain an outbreak given the number of people there.”
On Sunday morning Pete is imploring the Bay of Plenty community to get vaccinated.
“This is the biggest international health crisis in over 100 years and we have the benefit of history and science available to us to keep safe,” says Peter.
“This is not a government issue it is an issue of a deadly virus being spread by humans. Our behavior and our choices have consequences and we all want freedom but in this case freedom will come from our collective responsibility to each other by following the safeguards and by getting ourselves and our whanau safely protected with the vaccine.”