Council keeps critical services running in Omicron outbreak

Published on April 05, 2022

COVID19 megaphone icon

Whanganui District Council remains focused on keeping critical services running as the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak continues. Although the council is not a lead agency in the current Omicron response, council Civil Defence staff have continued to work in the background to support local organisations. 

Mayor Hamish McDouall says the community can feel reassured over the coming weeks as local organisations, including Iwi health providers, respond to people’s health and welfare needs in the continuing outbreak. 

Mayor Hamish says, “As high numbers of cases continue to be recorded each day in the community ahead of an anticipated peak, there are people isolating or COVID-19 positive who need food, basic medicine, or financial assistance.” He says, “Several organisations are responding and help is available if people need it.” 

Mayor Hamish, says, “Many people are giving their time voluntarily and I want to acknowledge their efforts and the outstanding role they are playing.”  

The effects of COVID-19 on council services and facilities are being carefully monitored and the council has advised it may have to close facilities at short notice if needed. 

Whanganui District Council Chief executive, David Langford, says, “We want to reassure the community that the council’s priority is to keep critical infrastructure running. This includes things like wastewater, drinking water, roading, and compliance services, such as animal control.”  

“Our business continuity planning has ensured we’ve kept critical services running so far. Now, with the changes to My Vaccine Pass entry requirements, and a further review of the traffic light settings coming on Thursday, 14 April, we continue to have safety measures in place, including encouraging people to access our services online, and to phone first on 06 349 0001 for an appointment if they need to see us in person.”  

David Langford, says, “I’m pleased to say that most council facilities remain open at this stage. However, the Splash Centre has had to adjust its opening hours recently to manage the impact of staff shortages on rosters, as more people isolate at home.” 

Health and safety protocols include regular RAT testing for council staff who are critical workers.  

David Langford, says, “I am very reassured by our staff, who remain focused on their jobs while doing their best to keep the community as safe as possible, during what we know is a stressful time for many people.”  

The Mayor also acknowledged how serious the effects of the ongoing pandemic can be, with two COVID-19 deaths recently reported in the District.  

Mayor Hamish, says, “At the heart of the daily COVID-19 case announcements are the people directly affected. It was very sad news to hear that two people in our district have died from COVID-19 and we extend our condolences to their families, and our compassion to everyone affected.”  

The council continues to encourage anyone who is experiencing symptoms to stay home and arrange to take a test. When people record a positive COVID-19 test, a primary care assessment helps identify what support they need.  

Mayor Hamish says, “The messages we want everyone to hear are, please, stay home if you are unwell, record your COVID-19 test result so that you can get help if you need it. And, importantly, anyone who tests positive or who is isolating can contact MSD or the local organisations directly for help. You don’t have to be on a benefit. Please don't hesitate or think the support available is not for you.” 

Changes to the COVID-19 protection framework (the traffic lights) and council services and facilities:  

From Tuesday, 5 April a My Vaccine Pass is no longer needed to access any Whanganui District Council services, facilities and venues. For more information about council services under the COVID-19 protection framework, please visit our COVID-19 page at: COVID-19 Whanganui District Council

The Government has announced that New Zealand remains at the Red setting, with the next review on 14 April.  

COVID-19 Care in the Community Collaborative Response:  

Key messages: COVID-19 Care in the Community Collaborative Response:  

  • The COVID-19 Care in the Community response for the Whanganui DHB rohe is an iwi led, community driven response, enabled by Whanganui DHB and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD or Work and Income) as the lead health and social service agencies.
  • As part of the response, Iwi health providers, with support from MSD and DHB, have set up four hubs across the DHB rohe to enable organisations providing support to work together. 
  • The hubs cover: Whanganui/ South Taranaki, Ohakune/Waimarino, South Rangitikei (Marton/Bulls) and North Rangitikei (Taihape). 
  • Hub organisations can be advised that people need COVID-19 welfare support via several ways, including when people register a positive COVID-19 test result over the phone or online, and fill out the questionnaire indicating they need help. 
  • People can also contact the hub organisations directly themselves.
  • A full list of food providers and community connectors funded to help with welfare support is available on the MSD website at: Care in the Community welfare response - Ministry of Social Development ( Due to MSD regional boundaries, some organisations in the Whanganui District response are listed under the Taranaki region. 

How to access care in the community support for COVID-19:

  • Many people with COVID-19 will be able to safely self-isolate with support from friends, family, and neighbours. They won’t necessarily need welfare support or additional medical and health care.When people do need help with things like food, basic medicines and household items, or support with other expenses, help is available.    
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, log your results (online My Covid Record | Ministry of Health NZ or phone: 0800 222 478). You will be contacted by one of the primary care or supporting agencies and asked if you need extra support.    
  • Anyone can call the COVID-19 Welfare line for free - 0800 512 337 - from 8.00am-8.00pm, 7 days a week. You do not need to be on a Work and Income benefit to receive help when you are isolating as a close contact or positive with COVID-19.    
  • Anyone can also contact the local organisations for health and welfare support. If they cannot provide you with the specific help you need, they can advise you on where to go.
  • If you need COVID-19 welfare support in Whanganui, please contact the below organisations:    

               Te Oranganui, Whanganui: 0800 202 004  
               Whanganui Regional Health Network: 06 348 0109.  
               Tupoho Covid Manaaki Whanau Centre: 06-345 9486.  
               City Mission Foodbank, Whanganui: 06 345 2139 (select option 1)
               Te Ranga Tupua iwi collective, visit:  

  • Remember, if your symptoms get worse, or you need urgent medical care, call your local healthcare provider or Healthline on 0800 358 5453. 




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