Media advisory #9 - Civil Defence joins Whanganui’s emergency response to coronavirus



29 March 2020


The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) handling the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak for the Whanganui District Health Board region has been expanded today, Sunday, 29 March 2020.


The original EOC, comprising health staff, has been joined by a contingent from Whanganui Civil Defence who will work in partnership with the health-led EOC.


The EOC is co-ordinating the response in the Whanganui DHB region which includes significant parts of the Rangitikei and Ruapehu territorial authorities.


Update on Waimarino maternity services

In the Waimarino region there will be a reduced maternity service commencing Monday, 30 March, 2020, as there is only one midwife available. This means all women due to give birth in the next four weeks will be advised to do so in Whanganui Hospital.


Key health information

  • Three cases of coronavirus COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Whanganui region as at 1pm on Saturday, 28 March 2020. These three people are self-isolating in one house in the Ruapehu District, and do not need hospitalisation.

  • In confirmed cases of COVID-19, Public Health staff will be in daily contact with those affected, and contact tracing will be undertaken.

  • We ask people to stay home, and to look after themselves, and the people they care most for. By staying home, they can help slow the spread of the virus and break the chain.

  • We can slow the spread if we all work together. Physical separation of two metres is of the utmost importance outside your bubble, but that does not mean social separation, so keep in touch by other means.

  • Remember to regularly wash your hands and dry them well.

  • And always cough and sneeze into your elbow.

  • Reminder – The only hospital visiting allowed is one visitor for patients: At end stage of life, in the Critical Care Unit, in the Maternity Unit, and in the Children’s Ward. All visitors must be part of the patient’s bubble.

  • Whanganui hospital is open 24/7 for critical cases and those patients who need urgent care.

  • Pregnant women can still have a support person from their bubble during labour and birth, and can hold their new-born skin to skin and share a room with their baby. However, they must wash hands and dry them thoroughly before and after touching baby. Seeing a midwife for routine and urgent visits is still necessary throughout lockdown. The midwife will do as much consultation as they can over the phone or via video conferencing, and the number of face-to-face visits may be reduced. Please talk to your midwife if you have any queries.


For more information

  • To keep up to date with local information about important health services in the Whanganui Region visit WDHB's Facebook page or

  • Te Ranga Tupua Collective Iwi Response – phone 0800 202 004 for help, advice and support for whānau in the Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu, Otaihape and South Taranaki Region

  • For national information visit  or


If you are unwell:

  • Phone the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

  • If you are going to your general practice (GP) - phone first.

  • If you are so unwell you need to come to the hospital ED – please phone first.