COVID tent theft disappointing

Three tents were stolen last night [June 22/23] from Napier’s COVID-19 Community-Based Assessment Centre. 

The theft of the tents, used to protect COVID-testing staff from the weather, was “extremely disappointing”, said Health Hawke’s Bay chief executive Wayne Woolrich. 

“It defies belief that during this time, when our health care staff are working so hard to try and keep us safe, that someone would steal critical equipment.” 

The Napier CBAC site is managed by The Doctors Napier and Health Hawke’s Bay, the region’s Primary Health Organisation. The theft was limited to the tents as no equipment was left inside them overnight. 

The theft could have resulted in a lost day of testing if it had rained, said The Doctors Napier nurse manager Andrea Halpin. “We are very lucky that it has stayed dry this morning.  We cannot swab outside in the rain all day for the health and well-being of our nursing staff, but also if the PPE becomes wet, then it becomes ineffective.  The tents that were stolen were used to protect our staff from the weather and also to house the equipment that we use, and keep it dry.” 

The theft was reported to police first thing this morning and the tents were replaced by the owners, Mardigras Event Hire, by mid-morning, she said. 

Access to the area has been further tightened. 

“This is a very important facility and the work can only safely be done outdoors as a ‘drive-through’, said Mr Woolrich. “That requires tents to protect people from the elements which does mean they are vulnerable to this type of attack,” said Mr Woolrich. 

“I urge anyone who knows anything about the theft of these tents to report the information to police.” 

Over the past two weeks the Napier centre had carried out between 70 and 100 tests a day, said Ms Halpin.

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