Choose Well for health care and be COVID responsible

Hawke’s Bay health officials are asking locals to Choose Well for health care this Christmas/New Year period, and be COVID responsible as more people travel around the country.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre said with more visitors in the region this busy holiday season it was important people were familiar with the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Hawke’s Bay is at the orange traffic light setting, while Wairoa remains at red, until it moves into orange at 11.59pm on 30 December 2021.

There are three key things to remember at every colour setting - Mask, Scan, Pass.

  • Take your face-covering when you leave the house and be ready to wear it
  • Scan in wherever you go
  • Download your Vaccine Pass and have it ready to show.

Dr Eyre said people who were unwell or had been exposed to a COVID-19 case needed to stay at home.

“Do not travel or take part in events or activities if you are sick.”

“Testing centres are open throughout the Christmas, New Year and holiday period and anyone who becomes unwell while on holiday in Hawke’s Bay, can check or the DHB’s Facebook page for the latest information on testing centres – both walk-in and booked.

“For people travelling outside of the region, call Healthline or check Healthpoint for information on the nearest testing centre.”

Dr Eyre said it was important people got tested as soon as possible and not wait until they get home. Symptomatic people would need to isolate until they received their test result.

“If a visitor to Hawke’s Bay tests positive for COVID-19, a member of the DHB health team will advise them as to what they should do, depending on their circumstances. This could be to stay where they are, make plans to isolate elsewhere or to return directly to their home with appropriate safety measures in place,” Dr Eyre said.

“We will discuss the person’s options and agree on a plan that meets their personal needs and reduces the risk to others. People will not be able to use public transport or travel long distances that require an overnight stay or interisland travel.”

“If it’s not possible for a person to return home safely, they will be supported to isolate in an appropriate facility in Hawke’s Bay.”

People who need to isolate on holiday need to follow the isolation guidance on the Ministry of Health website:

Dr Eyre said being fully vaccinated offered the best protection against COVID-19.

“Being fully vaccinated before you go on holiday this summer gives you and the friends and family you’re visiting the best protection against COVID-19.”

Dr Eyre reminded people to take their regular medication and be sun smart this summer/rāumati.

“Take care of yourself by applying plenty of sunscreen and taking time out in the shade as well as drinking water between every alcoholic drink.”

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Chief Operating Officer Chris Ash said the hospital’s emergency department (ED) was very busy at this time of year and it was important people left ED for emergencies only.

“Calling your GP first is the best option, where you will be transferred to an after-hours clinic if necessary. People who are unsure if they need to see a doctor could also seek advice from a pharmacist or phone Healthline for free 24/7 on 0800 611 116 to speak with a registered nurse.”

Mr Ash said those needing mental health and wellbeing support could text 1737 anytime for free help.

“It’s ok to ask for help if you or someone you know is struggling in what can be a stressful time of year for some.”

People can also call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357 or the DHB’s Emergency Mental Health number on 0800 112 334.

COVID testing centre numbers, as well as a list of pharmacies and clinics that will be open during the Christmas and New Year holiday period region-wide can be found at    

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