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When not if: people need to be ready for Covid in Tairawhiti and be vigilant.

With confirmed cases of Covid-19 expected in Tairāwhiti soon, it is important the community knows what to expect and that systems and processes are in place to support each other, Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz says.

This includes making sure whānau have everything needed in case a family member contracts Covid-19 and needs to self-isolate.

Two positive wastewater samples were confirmed in Gisborne last week and Wairoa confirmed two positive cases of Covid-19 on Friday.

Although the cases are low-risk, the news was a reminder people needed to prepared for when the virus emerges in the Tairāwhiti community, she said.

“Over the past few weeks the topic of vaccination has been discussed and analysed at length,” Mayor Stoltz said. “It's created lively discussion and debate at work and around the family dinner table.”

“We've all had to make some really hard decisions but regardless of what perspective we have, we must support each other through the times ahead.

“While we still need to focus on vaccinations, we also need to consider what we do if someone in our community contracts Covid-19.”

Anyone in Tairāwhiti who contracts Covid-19 will have their care and support coordinated by the team based at Takatu Hub, located above Te Waharoa in Peel Street.

The service is a partnership between Te Kupenga Net Trust, Ngāti Porou Hauora, Tūranga Health, general practices, the Ministry of Social Development, police, Kāinga Ora, Gisborne District Council, Tū Mai Tairāwhiti, Trust Tairāwhiti, community leaders, and Hauora Tairāwhiti.

“The new approach is to isolate at home, so I'm urging whānau to work together to think about a plan in case a family member needs to self-isolate,” Mayor Stoltz said.

“With Auckland borders opening next week, I want us to be prepared for any possibility.

“To prepare for home isolation, families must think about sleeping arrangements, food, water, medicine and any specific needs someone may have.

“Our local health providers, hapū and council area liaison staff have been working to prepare for when the time comes and I'm proud of the work that's been done so far to keep whānau safe.

Ministry of Health guidelines state that family members can't come within two metres of any infected person, can't sleep in the same bedroom and the house needs to be well ventilated.

“Kia kaha whānau,” Mayor Stoltz said. “This is when the strength of our community working together shines through.”

• For more information on self-isolating at home, go to tinyurl.com/2p9hjuzx

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