Issue 12 - September 2020


Kia ora
Welcome to the latest pānui for the BOP Health COVID-19 Response for the Lakes and Bay of Plenty Regions.  Included in this issue:
  • New Chief Executive for Bay of Plenty District Health Board 
  • Negative Tests for Port Workers
  • Face Coverings Compulsory on Public Transport
  • Visiting Hospital Under Alert Level 2
  • I've Just Been Tested - Do I need to Self-Isolate? 
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New Chief Executive for Bay of Plenty District Health Board 

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Interim Chair Sharon Shea, welcomes incoming BOPDHB Chief Executive Pete Chandler and thanks Interim Chief Executive - Simon Everitt.

E te toroa whakakoko, i rere mai i ngā moana nui, i hikitia e ngā hau e whā, utaina mai ki te Moana nui ā Toi, e tau mai ana ki uta.
E te rangatira, e mihi kau ana mātou o te Hauora ā Toi ki a koe, ahakoa he uri nō tāwāhi, i kimihia te turangawaewae i waenga i ngā iwi o te motu nei.
Tēnā koe, tēnā koe, tēnā koutou katoa.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Pete Chandler to his position of Chief Executive. Pete is an experienced healthcare professional with over 30 years in the industry and he takes up the reins at an important time. Pete’s dynamic and innovative approach will be known to many already, from his time here as Chief Operating Officer, and he will carry this forward into his new role. We have many challenges and opportunities ahead including continued growth throughout the Bay of Plenty, the flow-on implications of that growth; working more as one joined-up health system, shifting the dial on equity – particularly for Māori and rural populations, maturing our system and its approach to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and managing the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and Whakaari.

As we welcome Pete today I would also like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge our outgoing Interim Chief Executive Simon Everitt. Simon has done an exceptional job for all of us over the past 10 months leading the organisation through such major events as the Whakaari/White Island eruption and the initial COVID-19 response. Thank you to you Simon, and also to your whānau. Ngā mihi nui ki a koe e te rangatira.

Mauri ora,

Sharon Shea
Interim Board Chair

Negative Tests for Port Workers

The test results from the 720 high priority workers tested for COVID-19 at the Port of Tauranga have now all returned negative. 

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board began testing at its dedicated testing facility at the Port of Tauranga from midday Monday 17 August 2020 and had completed testing the high priority workers by morning, Thursday 20 August – in advance of the Ministry of Health deadline.

BOPDHB Interim Chief Executive Simon Everitt says the fact all the tests are negative is a pleasing outcome.

"We would like to thank everyone involved in the response - those who worked tirelessly to set up the testing facility at short notice, the amazing job of those involved throughout testing process, and the tremendous combined effort to coordinate those who needed to be tested. And importantly, a big thanks to the port workers for their cooperation during this time.

"Mā pango, mā whero ka oti te mahi - when we all pitch in together, we can achieve great things."

Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation Chief Executive Lindsey Webber also acknowledged the effort and commitment of those involved in the Port of Tauranga surveillance testing.

"The response from everyone involved has been phenomenal, and it would not have been possible without the collaborative effort of all. It clearly demonstrates the skills and expertise of our workforces.

“Coordinating a response at short notice required bringing together numerous teams including Ngāi te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui iwi, Port of Tauranga staff, maritime employers, PHO staff, BOPDHB, Pathlab, IT services, staff training coordinators… and everyone did an amazing job."

WBOPPHO Clinical Director Dr Claire Isham endorsed the sentiment: "I am immensely proud of the speed and professionalism of our network in responding to the increased demand for testing at short notice," she said.

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Face Coverings Compulsory on Public Transport 

As of Monday 31 August, face coverings must be worn on public transport and aircraft at Alert Level 2. That includes trains, buses, and ferries.

Wearing a face covering helps keep you and others safe.   A face covering helps stop droplets spreading when someone speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes. This includes someone who has COVID-19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms.

Face coverings are particularly useful when physical distancing is not possible.

They don’t need to be worn:

·  by children under 12
·  on school buses (Ministry of Education or Public Transport Authority contracted school services)

·  on charter or group tours
·  on inter-island (Cook Strait) ferries
·  on private scenic flights.
Read More

Level 2 Visiting Rules at Hospitals

People wishing to visit whānau, family and friends in Tauranga,  Whakatāne, Rotorua and Taupo hospitals during COVID-19 Alert Level 2 are asked to be aware of some restrictions that are currently in place to support the need to maintain social distancing. 

Tauranga & Whakatāne Hospitals
In the Emergency Department (ED), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), High Dependency Unit (HDU) and Acute Care Unit (ACU), high risk areas of our hospitals, the general principle is two nominated visitors per patient with only one visitor at a time.

In other hospital areas, it is one visitor at a time, but more than one person is able to visit during the day.  For more information click here.

Rotorua & Taupo Hospitals
The general visiting times for both hospitals will move to 11.00am-1.00pm and 4.00-6.00pm daily.

This means that only one person may visit at a time in the first visiting hours slot of 11am-1pm, and later in the day from 4-6pm. 

Key features of the restrictions are:
• Two consistent people can be with a patient who is receiving end of life care.
• For parents with a child in the Children’s Unit or in the Special Care Baby Unit, there can be one parent or guardian as the support person plus one other visitor.
• A woman in labour can have one support person in the birthing suite and this person can remain with the mother until she is discharged, even if that includes a post natal stay.
• People coming to ED can have only one person with them at any time, as is the case with patients in any other area of the hospitals. For more information click here.   

I've just been tested.  Do I need to Self-Isolate?  

Ministry of Health advice to everyone continues to be – stay at home if you are sick. Follow your health practitioner’s advice about what to do while waiting for your test results. 
While everyone should stay at home while sick, your health practitioner will specifically instruct you to self- isolate if you have symptoms and one or more  of the following Higher Index of Suspicion (HIS) criteria:  
  • been in contact with a confirmed or probable case
  • travelled internationally in the past 14 days
  • had direct contact with a person who has travelled overseas. This could include Customs, Immigration, and Managed Isolation and Quarantine staff
  • worked on an international aircraft or shipping vessel, or
  • cleaned at an international airport or maritime port in areas visited by international arrivals
  • or any other criteria requested by the Medical Officer of Health
Self-isolation means staying at home. This helps prevent any possible spread of COVID-19 to others.  Do not go to work. Do not go to the supermarket, pharmacy or school. If you need food or medical supplies while you are in isolation you will need to ask someone else to get them for you. Do not use public transport, ride-share or taxis, or visit others. You must not have any visitors come in to your house. If you become more unwell or have health concerns while self-isolating, call your GP or the free 24/7 Healthline number for advice on 0800 358 5453.
Close contacts of confirmed or probable cases are routinely required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days and until cleared by the Medical Officer of Health to be released from isolation.
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