As the impacts of coronavirus CONVID-19 continue to unfold each day, we are all assessing our own situations and thinking about what we need to do to best prepare and protect ourselves and the wider community.
You'll have seen that there are now bright posters at the entrances of the EA Networks Centre, Museum, Library and Council building asking anyone who is feeling unwell to please return home and to contact their GP or Healthline for advice.
We have introduced these and other sensible precautions based on the advice coming from New Zealand's lead agency on the COVID-19 response, the Ministry of Health (MoH). As not only a public service and facility provider, but also a local employer, the Council has a responsibility to do all we can to protect the welfare of our residents and staff. It is a responsibly other organisations and businesses are actively assessing as well.
We have reinforced sanitiser messages to our staff to regularly wash or clean their hands, are advising our teams to reduce hand-to-hand contact with others and to stay at home if they are feeling unwell. We have also increased our cleaning and sanitising activities at all our facilities.
Advice from the MoH experts is that washing our hands thoroughly, avoiding touching our faces, sneezing and coughing into tissues or our elbow, and staying at home if we are experiencing possible symptoms are all practical and effective measures to help protect ourselves and our community. These are measures we should all adopt in our efforts to be responsible and reduce the spread of the virus.
From a Council perspective, we are refreshing our Business Continuity Plans to ensure we can keep critical Council services open and can support staff to work from home where possible, and have set up an internal Pandemic Planning Group which is meeting daily to keep abreast of developments and respond accordingly. Additionally, we are working with industry leaders who are working on behalf of all Local Authorities to coordinate advice on a vast array of issues confronting Councils and their services for communities.
The MoH remains the single source of truth on coronavirus COVID-19, and I urge everyone in our community to check their website (health.govt. nz/COVID-19) for information. The MoH stresses anyone who has been overseas within the last 14 days and has developed a fever, cough or shortness of breath should phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 or contact their GP.