Coronavirus may not have arrived in the Bay of Plenty but the mental strain of social isolation has, especially among the elderly.
The mental health of senior citizens is Tauranga and Western Bay Grey Power president Jennifer Custins' biggest worry for now.
"People's eightieth and ninetieth birthday celebrations are being cancelled. Family members coming over from overseas are now not going to come," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.
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"One of our committee members had to cancel a holiday overseas. It's disruptive in that way at the moment because in Tauranga we haven't had any cases yet."
"We already talk so much about our people being isolated as they get older. Now - unlike a natural disaster like an earthquake where you go and visit somebody and give them a hug - we are all now told to keep our distance," she said.
"We are going to make every effort to keep in touch with our members, reassure them and keep our office open."
There were 20 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand as of Wednesday, eight of which were new. None were in the Bay of Plenty.
The Government also said there was no evidence of a community outbreak.
Thousands have died of the virus overseas and people aged over 60 are particularly vulnerable.
Bay City Rockers Social Dance Group organiser Gavin Bird said members would meet todayand make a plan for the coming weeks.
He said the majority of dancers were single and aged 65 to 80 and up to 80 came to dance at a time.
"It's not just a small number, but we haven't had anyone come back from overseas recently as far as I know. We are a pretty tight-knit group."
He said if the likes of RSAs and Senior Citizens' clubs closed down "it would be a big thing" for many of the dancers in the group.
"They're meeting points for everybody."
Age Concern Tauranga manager Tanya Smith said the organisation would be "the first port of call" for any elderly feeling concerned about isolation.
"We have got people on hand who are able to assist them."
She asked members of the public to "touch base with their neighbours, even just leave a note in their mailbox with contact details".
"We do know there are plenty of socially isolated and lonely people out there, it's just that they may feel like they're being a burden. They don't want to be a worry, calling out and reaching out.
"We want those people to know it's okay, they can give us a call and there are plenty of agencies out there that are willing and able to help out ... We can make it happen."
Helping hands raised
People across Tauranga are putting their (sanitised) hands up to help isolated elderly and other vulnerable residents through the coronavirus crisis.
This week, Age Concern Tauranga manager Tanya Smith has been taking calls from community members offering to help, "which is really great", Smith said.
Local social media groups have been flooded with people offering to delivery groceries, pick up prescriptions, do post shop runs or even just call for a chat.
American traveller and health coach Ali Karsant was among those posting online to offer help.
The 30-year-old arrived in Mount Maunganui a month ago and was not planning to leave until May.
She said she was blessed to feel healthy and safe, but knew not everyone was in that position.
"I just think that in times of crisis that's the moment when I feel we need to bring forward the love and companionship the most.
"I would love to help in any way I can."
Karsant said she was "almost brought to tears" by the reaction to her post on a Mount Maunganui page, with dozens of others also wanting to help elderly.
She doesn't have a car so people were offering her rides to the supermarket.
All she was missing, she said, was someone who wanted help.
That was the same for Rosie McGovern, a jewellery shop worker who lives in The Lakes who has also offered help.
The 27-year-old said that for people feeling lonely or scared, even just a social phone call could help.
She was hoping a list of phone numbers for willing helpers could be put together and dropped in mailboxes.
McGovern was "really proud" to live in a community where people were so willing to help others.
Both women were confident they could manage to help people out without putting their own health or others at risk by using good hygiene practices and keeping a distance.
- By Samantha Motion
Ideas for beating self-isolation cabin fever
Caring for pets
Kapa haka and dance
Painting and drawing
Learning a language
Learning whakapapa and genealogy
Phone and video calls
Going for short drives
Walking, running and gardening with appropriate social distancing
Doing home repairs