Media advisory #18 Safely disposing personal protective equipment at home


9 April 2020



The public are being reminded of the importance of carefully disposing of personal waste to help protect the health of others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As advised by the Ministry of Health, careful disposal of used personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and masks and other personal waste is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Jacqui Pennefather, Whanganui District Health Board Infection Prevention Service Manager, says.


“Those who are sick or in self-isolation should double-bag waste that they have used including tissues, wet wipes, cleaning waste, masks and gloves.


“Put them in a plastic bag and tie the bag when it is about three-quarters full. Place the plastic bag into your bag or bin.


“After that, your bags or bins can be put out for regular kerbside collection,” Jacqui Pennefather says.

Jacqui Pennefather adds, “Even if you are not sick or in self-isolation you should double-bag all PPE.”

The World Health Organisation does not recommend the use of medical masks by the general public except in particular circumstances – where someone is sick and wearing a mask that protects others, or when someone is caring for a sick person and the mask can help protect them.


Key Whanganui Region health information


  • As of 9 April 2020 a total of seven people have COVID-19 in the Whanganui Region, all of whom have returned to New Zealand from overseas.
  • Five people are in the Ruapehu District and two are in the Whanganui District. 
  • Public Health staff are in daily contact with those people who have confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 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. 
  • In the Waimarino Region a reduced maternity service commenced on 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. 
  • 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 their 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.  

Welfare assistance during the lockdown 

  • For Whanganui call 06 349 0001 - this line operates 8.00am to 5.00pm with an after-hours response after that.  
  • For Ruapehu south (Waimarino) call 06 385 8364 – this line operates 24/7.  
    For more information   
  • To keep up to date with local information about important health services in the Whanganui Region visit 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


  • If you have flu symptoms, 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 Whanganui Hospital’s emergency department – please phone first on 06 348 1300.