Media advisory #2 Coordinated and community-wide response to COVID-19


17 March 2020


Whanganui DHB EOC controller Louise Allsopp (centre) with team members.

Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) opened its emergency operations centre (EOC) on Monday 16 March to respond to the COVID-19 Coronavirus.


WDHB is the lead agency during a pandemic, but is working collaboratively with the Ministry of Health, partners in the health and social services sector, iwi and local Civil Defence and Emergency Management teams for a community-wise response.


There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Whanganui region. Eight people have been swabbed, with negative results.


The EOC is based at Whanganui Hospital and is staffed by WDHB and the Whanganui Regional Health Network, with community input.


EOC controller, Louise Allsopp, says opening the EOC helps with a more coordinated response to what is happening nationally and preparedness locally.


“Everyone in the EOC team has defined roles to help the response run smoothly. It’s been a busy time for our staff as no doubt it has for many people in our region. We are working really well together as a team to prepare for what might happen nationally and in the Whanganui region.


“We know there is anxiety in the community about COVID-19 and it is a challenging time for everyone, but staff who work in the hospital and in community and primary health are used to infection control measures in their day-to-day work and have experience and expertise in this area.”


She says the community has responded well to continued hygiene practices such as washing and drying hands, coughing and sneezing into elbows and staying home if they are unwell.


“We can’t talk about good hygiene practices enough. We also encourage people to visit the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 page for accurate national information and to go to the WDHB Facebook page where we will share regional messages.” 


 If you suspect you are unwell, please call the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453.


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