21 March 2020

On behalf of Carterton Mayor Greg Lang

This afternoon the Ministry of Health confirmed Wairarapa’s first case of COVID-19. Out of interest to our close-knit community, and with the permission of the affected staff members, we can now confirm that this case is a Carterton District Council staff member.

The person did everything right and went into self-isolation as soon as they started to show symptoms. That included not coming into work.

We are confident the proactive measures we had in place, including additional cleaning and physical distancing among staff, have mitigated the potential of the virus spreading.

Public Health has advised us that all close contacts have been traced. Further information on the case, including numbers of people identified as close and casual contacts and their testing, will come directly from the Ministry of Health.

Public Health has advised us there is no need to close services. However, physical distancing is an absolute priority at this stage. We are also taking the extra precautionary step to have our facilities deep-cleaned this weekend. We can assure you that our public council buildings, which include the council office, Information Centre, Events Centre and library have been and continue to be safe environments. Any changes to our services or businesses being open will be continuously reviewed and updated on our website at cdc.govt.nz/covid19 and on our Facebook page.

I want to reinforce, we have prepared for this and are enacting our plan for managing pandemic situations. This includes immediately looking at how we can deliver our services in a different way – we will immediately be putting these plans into action.

Based on the Government’s advice today, we will be initiating remote working where it is feasible immediately.

These are unprecedented times and we need our community to remain calm and only go to reputable sources for information. That is, the Ministry of Health or Government’s COVID-19 website: www.covid19.govt.nz

We also need everyone to take the Prime Minister’s advice given today. People over 70, people with compromised immune systems and vulnerabilities should stay at home where possible. People visiting them should be extra vigilant about not visiting if they are unwell and ensuring physical distancing measures are taken at all points.

Everyone should start looking at ways they can work differently. And, as the Prime Minister said, movement around the country should be limited.

Finally, I want to reiterate the importance of practising the measures that have been crucial throughout this exercise; practise good personal hygiene and keep your physical distance from others. That does not mean social distance, we are a close community in Carterton and we need to take care of each. Be kind. We are all in this together.