Whanganui District Health Board is urging people to seek health care without delay if they feel unwell.

Chief medical officer Dr Ian Murphy wants people in the Whanganui region to feel confident that they are safe to seek healthcare if they need it.

"We know this has been a stressful and uncertain time and that people continue to have some anxiety about the spread of Covid-19, but Whanganui Hospital, general practices and other health providers are taking precautions to keep patients as safe as possible."

He said people should contact their GP if they are unwell, attend health appointments and, if they are seriously ill, go to the emergency department at Whanganui Hospital.

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"We have no current cases of Covid-19 in the Whanganui region and the nine people who have had Covid-19 have recovered and followed self-isolation restrictions during their recovery period."

Even when there were active cases within Whanganui, no cases presented to Whanganui Hospital.

The community-based assessment centre at Whanganui Hospital is still operating and testing people for coronavirus. Photo / Bevan Conley
The community-based assessment centre at Whanganui Hospital is still operating and testing people for coronavirus. Photo / Bevan Conley

But as part of protocol, Murphy said hospital staff will continue to ask patients health-related questions to see if they may need to be assessed for Covid-19 and are using personal protective equipment and infection-control measures where appropriate.

"General practices and pharmacies will be physically operating differently to meet the requirements of alert level 2 with most practices still using a balance of phone, virtual consults and face-to-face consultations. Please contact your general practice in the first instance to see how they best can help you."

Whanganui Hospital is still in the process of rebooking people who had elective surgeries, procedures and outpatient appointments scheduled during the lockdown.

"As our community begins to recover from the lockdown, from a health, social and economic perspective, one of the important things is for people to feel supported to be physically and mentally well so they can get back to doing normal things in their lives," Murphy said.