If you think you have coronavirus or Covid-19, phone your GP before you visit - do not go to the doctor without phoning ahead first.
This is just one of the important facts Hawke's Bay Today has put together in this list of "frequently asked questions" that the general public is asking about coronavirus or Covid-19.
Our list below comes from a mix of questions asked and answered by the Ministry of Health and Hawke's Bay District Health Board. It also includes events that have been cancelled or postponed.
The list will be frequently updated, and the public is welcome to send us questions relating to the viral illness.
Q- What is Covid-19/coronavirus?
A- Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which cause illnesses such as the common cold. The most recent diseases caused by coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Covid-19. So, to be clear, Covid-19 is a disease caused by coronaviruses.
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Q- What are the symptoms?
A- Symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have Covid-19. Symptoms include: fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
Anyone with those symptoms should NOT turn up
at a general practice, accident or medical centre or Hawke's Bay Hospital's Emergency Department without phoning ahead first.
Q- Are there any confirmed cases in Hawke's Bay?
A- There has been one confirmed case in Hawke's Bay, on March 20. Hawke's Bay District Health Board's Medical Officer of Health, Dr Nick Jones said the confirmed case was a male in his 30s.
The man has recently returned from overseas and had been in self-isolation since returning to New Zealand on 17 March.
There were no close contacts to follow-up in New Zealand as the man had done everything as he should have, and had followed all precautionary advice including calling ahead to a general practice where he was tested in a carpark. Air travel contacts will be followed up through the national contact tracing service.
Flight information the man travelled on is available here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-cases
The man is recovering well and is in isolation in a home on his own.
Dr Jones said there is no wider risk to the community from this confirmed case and he congratulated the man for his vigilance and following the precautionary advice.
Dr Jones said with continued vigilance, the chance of a community outbreak remained low.
Q- What is Hawke's Bay's response?
A- The Hawke's Bay District Health Board has activated its full-scale emergency response structure in preparation and response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is well prepared and advanced in its pandemic response.
The DHB has been working closely with pharmacies, general practices and aged residential care facilities for some weeks to help ensure they have the training and equipment in place if a community outbreak of Covid-19 occurs.
An isolation ward at Hawke's Bay Hospital is ready to activate if required and the hospital also has six negative pressure isolation rooms, including in the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit.
Our communities across the region will start to see widespread consistent advice provided by the MOH and DHB around helping to stop the spread of viruses and flu, as well as specific Covid19 information. You will start to see posters and advice displayed in shops and trade windows and in public facilities such as libraries and other high-pedestrian traffic areas.
Q- How do you protect yourself?
A- Both the Ministry of Health and the DHB are reiterating the need to follow basic hygiene practices which include regular hand washing with soap and water, staying away from work and others if you are sick, following basic cough or sneeze etiquette into the elbow, staying away from crowds and if unwell to call Healthline 0800 358 5453 or visit www.health.govt.nz/Covid-19.
Q- Where, in Hawke's Bay, do you go with a GP or Healthline referral?
A- Hawke's Bay DHB has opened its first community-based assessment center [CBAC] in Hastings.
These are not drop-in centres. People will be turned away if they just turn-up. People must be referred to a CBAC by their GP or Healthline.
The first assessment centre opened on March 19 at the old Hastings Health Centre building, 101Queen St East, Hastings.
Q- What if a CBAC is not open where I live yet?
A- If a CBAC is not yet open near you, and you're experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, then the DHB is advising people to stay home and call ahead to their GP or Healthline as normal.
DO NOT turn up at your GP or emergency department as you may put others at risk of infection. Staff will talk to you about how you can be seen and assessed safely.
Q- What to do if you believe you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms?
A- Please phone ahead to your GP or Healthline 0800 358 5453 as normal. You will be triaged over the telephone. If they believe you need to be assessed for Covid-19, you will be referred to the Community-Based Assessment Centre.
Please note: Your GP or Healthline will then phone the CBAC ahead, to let staff know that you are being referred. The team at the CBAC will call you and make an appointment to see you.
Most people will be assessed in their cars, so please stay in your car on arrival. Only those that require more clinical assessment will be escorted safely into the centre.
Do not be alarmed to find staff working at the community-based assessment centres wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). This helps to keep them protected from any spread of infection as they will be in close proximity to patients being assessed for Covid-19.
Q- What is social distancing?
A- In simple terms social distancing refers to the idea of maintaining a distance between you and other people, in this case, at least two metres.
It also means minimising contact with people, avoiding public transportation whenever possible, limiting non-essential travel, working from home and skipping social gatherings. And definitely not going to crowded bars and sporting arenas.
Q- What is self-isolation?
A- Self-isolation means staying away from situations where you could infect other people. This means any situation where you may come in close contact with others (face to face contact closer than one metre for more than 15 minutes), such as social gatherings, work, school, child care/preschool centres, etc.
If you are a visitor to New Zealand, this means you should avoid sitting in a restaurant, or participating in any type of tour group.
Q- How does Covid-19 spread?
A- Like the flu, Covid-19 can be transmitted from person to person. The scientific evidence confirms that Covid-19 is spread by droplets.
This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.
Droplet-spread diseases can be spread by: coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, contact with an object or surface with viral particles on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
What Hawke's Bay events have been cancelled or postponed?
The Government has declared a ban on gatherings of 500 or more people. It covers things like school assemblies, and church gatherings. These events are on hold or have been cancelled.
- Hawke's Bay Soul Choir event - postponed
- Forest and Bird's talk re Kevin Hague's address on the 26th March at EIT - cancelled
- Napier City Council cancelled and postponed events
- All Hawke's Bay Anzac Day services - cancelled
- Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Awards - postponed
- Napier Civic Choir's Gypsy Songs orchestral and choral concerts in April - cancelled
- The Hawke's Bay sports awards - postponed
- EIT graduation ceremonies - cancelled
- The Big Easy and Little Easy cycle tours at Easter - cancelled
- The Hawke's Bay Marathon - cancelled (new race date/venue to be announced)
- Cruise ship visits - cancelled
- Osthmanthus Garden Lantern Festival - cancelled
- The Victorian State Ballet of Beauty and the Beast (Napier Municipal Theatre) - cancelled
- Soweto Gospel Choir show (Napier Municipal Theatre) - cancelled
- Hōhepa Hawke's Bay's Fundraiser Gala Dinner - cancelled
- Seafood Festival at Takitimu Seafoods - cancelled
- Maraekakaho Country Market Day - cancelled
- Hawke's Bay Jazz Club - Sunday, March 29 meet - cancelled
- The Total Evolution of the Motorcycle Show - postponed Easter 2021
- New Zealand Symphony Orchestra show (Napier's Municipal Theatre) - cancelled
- Napier City Council town huddles (Tamatea Community Church, Co-Lab Taradale and St Thomas More Parish) – cancelled
- Taradale Village Fete – cancelled
- Eskview District Rugby Football Club fundraiser – cancelled (will be livestreamed)
- Hawke's Bay Orienteering Club events (Anderson Park and Haumoana School) – cancelled
- Hawke's Bay Schools Orienteering Individual Sprint Champs - postponed
- Eats and Beats event (Taradale High School) – postponed
- Tennis NZ Seniors event – cancelled
- Tennis Eastern Racenight - cancelled
- Unison Switch Gala Day 2020 – cancelled
- Heretaunga Women's Centre Sweet as Banana Pudding Art Exhibition - postponed
- Hawke's Bay Easter Festival "The Easter Comps" - cancelled
- Dannevirke Clay Target Club "Opening Weekend Eyeopener" - cancelled
- Battle For Life - postponed
- Menopause the Musical - cancelled
- The Tapeface Show - cancelled
- International Comedy Allstars - cancelled
_ Toitoi – Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre shows Owls Do Cry, March 20, Menopause The Musical, March 22, The Tapeface Show, May 16, and International Comedy Allstars, 23 May - cancelled
- 2020 Tremains Affordable Art Exhibition - cancelled