The State of National Emergency announced on 25 March 2020 in conjunction with the COVID-19 level 4 alert of lockdown has been extended to 8 April 2020 and it's likely it will be extended further. A cross-party Epidemic Response Committee has been established to consider the Government's response to COVID-19 and I am a part-time member of this Committee. Find out more about what the Committee will do, and how you can watch its meetings.
Now, more than ever, communities need to unite and look after one another. The recent warmer day time weather is bringing people out and about and it's very important that you only go out if necessary and if you do, that you follow the lockdown rules including maintaining a social distance of at least 2 meters from anyone else outside your bubble that you may encounter along the way.
It has become apparent that many people, especially those without internet services and some of our elderly people are struggling with access to updated information and I am asking today that you take some time to get in touch with any of your family members, friends or neighbours that may fall in that category.
You can encourage them to keep their televisions and radios on and if they have access to a phone, you should also keep in regular contact with them.
For everyone else, technology has come a long way and virtual meetings have become the 'new' way of working for many, including myself.
In support of the National State of Emergency, Councils have set up Emergency Operations Centres. The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group is a consortia of local authorities, emergency services, lifeline utilities, welfare organisations, Government departments and non-government organisations and covers our electorate from Cambridge, South Waikato and through to Taupo.
In the first instance, you should seek assistance getting groceries and prescriptions through your neighbours, family members or friends. If you don't have any other alternative support and you and your whānau need help with access to essential household supplies (food, medication or cleaning supplies), shelter or support, you can call the 0800 800 405 helpline. This number is available from 7 am to 7 pm daily, 7 days a week.
I've been in contact with supermarkets across the electorate and while they are building their click and collect capacity, there are still limited spaces. What we need, is people who can go to the supermarket for those aged over 70. Other ways you can help are:
- assist with phone calling
- ordering groceries online
- delivering groceries and supplies to someone in your neighbourhood
I can’t thank our voluntary workers enough for their selfless work. I am reminded daily about the strength of our community and how relevant it is to how we support each other get through this.
My team and I are also keen to hear from you if you need help with anything, no need is too large or too small, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Testing for COVID-19 is increasing and local testing stations are being opened up to ensure those who are displaying symptoms can be tested. Symptoms include:
- a cough
- a high temperature (at least 38°C)
- shortness of breath
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID, but you should call your GP or Healthline if you are concerned. For more info on symptoms visit the Ministry of Health website.
You should call your GP in the first instance if you are concerned. You can also contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
Flu vaccines are available and our DHBs (Waikato and Lakes) are actively encouraging priority groups to get vaccinated. Priority groups are people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, people with serious health conditions such as severe asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease or children with a history of severe respiratory illness.
Businesses and workers support
We are still receiving a large number of queries from both employers and employees who in many cases are confused about their obligations and wage subsidy entitlements. These are laid out here.
Other resources on this site include:
- finding out if you are an essential business
- information on how to pay your staff
- who can get the wage subsidy
- new leave payment for essential workers who have to stay at home to comply with public health guidance
If you are still unsure after visiting the website, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of my electorate offices and we will see how we can help to further clarify your query.
Many businesses are also focussing on recovery and what their business will need once the lockdown lifts. Make sure you are in contact with your accountants and business advisors, local Chamber of Commerce or Te Waka's Business Growth Team.
MPI has published a link on their website with questions and answers that you might find useful. MPI have said these will be continually updated as new questions are asked, so please keep checking it over the next few weeks.
Finally, as week two approaches of the lockdown, I do hope you are keeping active and engaged.
I am so proud of the way in many of you are responding to this unprecedented situation. It is heartening to see the care and compassion shown in the community. We will be successful if we protect people’s health, maintain our bubbles and stop the spread of this virus.
With autumn here, it's a great opportunity to take some time out in your backyard and enjoy the changing colours of nature and its fresh, crisp air.
For more information on any of the topics covered in this newsletter or if you have other issues or concerns to raise, please get in contact.
- Cambridge - 07 827 5572
- South Waikato - 07 886 5554
- Taupo - 07 376 5563
- Freephone - 0508 TAUPOMP (828766)
Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, family or acquaintances who may find this information valuable.
Please remember - stay home and save lives.