The new endoscopy suite, Te Wāhi Tirohia Oranga Whēkau, at Whangārei Hospital was officially opened and blessed this week after the lockdown postponed the ceremony initially scheduled for late March.
However, the Northern Advocate raised questions after a Facebook post with a video of the blessing showed a room full of people not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), or keeping physically distant, caused some concern among readers.
In the three-minute video, kaumātua Te Ihi Tito joins eight staff from the hospital, plus a person who is filming, in a room to speak his blessing. While Tito remains at least 1m distant from any personnel, all other staff are standing close together with no one wearing PPE.
"PPE is required when staff are caring for patients with suspected Covid-19 or indeed any other infectious diseases," Catherine Jackson, Northland District Health Board's medical officer of health, said.
"The guidance in level 3 asks that people do not gather for any more than 15 minutes.
"The nine staff gathered for no more than 3.30 mins therefore are not considered close contacts, and all of the staff are well."
She said blessing Northland DHB facilities and names of their services was an important cultural aspect of the organisation.
"Te Wāhi Tirohia Oranga Whēkau – The Endoscopy Suite was to be blessed and opened in late March and was postponed due to Covid-19. Kaumātua Te Ihi works at Whangārei Hospital and officiates matters of cultural significance as a part of his mahi," Jackson said.
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Northland carver Poutama Hetaraka of Ngāi Tahu had designed the new Te Wāhi Tirohia Oranga Whēkau logo. Translated, Te Wāhi Tirohia Oranga Whēkau means "looking inside for the wellbeing of your health".
The shape of the logo and the circle with lens glare symbolises the scope which is used during an endoscopy – a non-surgical procedure during which a doctor inserts a flexible tube, with a light and camera attached to it, into the patient's digestive tract.
"The koru is a spiral shape symbolising new life, growth and strength. The inner circle features the district health board's decorative motif and provides a link to our organisational values which are at the centre of everything that we do," Te Ihi explained during the blessing.