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In the red zone

NURSE Hekia Parata admits to some nerve-wracking moments early on at the Covid-19 testing station in the War Memorial Theatre.

Staff were aware of media reports of the dramatic impact coronavirus was having, including with healthcare workers.

But life in the testing station could also be exciting, she says in a video by Gisborne Herald videographer and posted on the Herald's Facebook page.

Before Covid-19 became a household name, Ms Parata was an Emergency Department (ED) nurse who saw the entire spectrum of patients.

‘We are like the gatekeepers of the hospital.”

She and her colleagues treated medical, paediatric and geriatric patients.

“It is a wide range of nursing when you are an ED nurse.

“I've also worked a lot in the red zone.”

That is where patients who are deemed to have a high probability of having Covid-19 are tested.

“We have got an awesome team and everyone has been supporting each other, helping to put our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear on, and making sure we are isolated.

“I was anxious initially, but as time has gone on we've seen the (low) numbers and seen how well Tairawhiti has done in regards to Covid-19.

“It has eased the anxiety.” she said.

“Some of the people coming through have been anxious, having seen the media coverage.

“There's a lot of word out in the media.

“But once they come in and see, they understand it's just about isolating people in the red zone and making sure people are safe in the green zone (where people deemed to be at a low high probability of having Covid-19 are tested).

Ms Parata said the public were reassured when they saw medical staff wearing PPE, explaining procedures and making them comfortable.

There had been some positives from the lockdown, she said.

“There's been a lot of saving because you can't go anywhere.

“I've been working a lot, and saving a lot.

“Our team has got a lot closer with this all this Covid-19 going on.”

LEADING THE WAY: Hekia Parata in the hospital red zone and, inset, at the War Memorial Theatre testing station. Pictures by Ben Cowper
Hekia Parata in hospital red zone