Hauora Tairāwhiti has confirmed that a male in his 50s, who recently returned from overseas travel in the United States, is the first case of COVID-19 in the region. He has been in self-isolation since returning to New Zealand.
They say this is not a case of community transmission.
Hauroa Tairāwhiti Medical Officer of Health, Dr Osman Mansoor, says the man is in quarantine at home and recovering well, and everyone he has been in contact with since his return is being followed up with and because he has been in self-isolation this number is low.
Hauroa Tairāwhiti want the public to know health services across the region have been preparing for this day for some time and encourage people to please stay at home.
Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Controller Dave Wilson says it is frustrating to see and hear that some people are still not taking the stay at home warnings seriously.
"We are relying on the people of Tairāwhiti to slow down the spread so our health system can cope with those who do return positive tests," Wilson says.
"If we can't do this our health services will be overwhelmed. We have vulnerable people in our community and we all have a responsibility to protect them.
"These are people's aunties, uncles and grandparents. We need you to do your part to save lives."
Gisborne District Council Mayor Rehette Stoltz is asking people to remain calm and continue to heed the Prime Minister's words.
"We urge everyone to stay home. This is not optional," Stoltz says.
"The only way we will stop the spread of the virus through our community is if we all stay home and practice social distancing to ensure that the virus has nowhere to go.
"Physical isolation is critical to slow down the spread of the virus. Failure to do so puts our people's lives at risk."
How to protect your whānau from COVID-19
- If you have to leave your home, stand at least two metres away from anyone else.
- Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds. Then dry. This kills the virus by bursting its protective bubble.
- If you are sick and you have any of these symptoms: a fever, cough, shortness of breath or a runny nose THEN call your GP, before you visit.
- If you do not have a GP call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.