“Be calm…. we’ve done this before”

Staff at Covid-19 testing stations are working long hours as people wait to be tested following three new community cases confirmed over the weekend. Although there have been long waiting times in an atmosphere of concern, a senior Pacific doctor encourages the Pacific community to be calm and to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health.

The new cases – a student and her parents– visited 21 locations in Auckland and New Plymouth over the past week, resulting in Auckland moving to Alert Level 3 for at least three days and the rest of the country at Alert Level 2.

Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) member and GP at the South Seas Health Clinic Dr Maryann Heather, applauds her staff for tending to the high demand to service their community and is also encouraged that our community are responding to calls to be tested.

“The main thing is not to panic. This is our third lockdown, so we’ve done this before and as a community we have responded very well.”

Dr Heather commends the New Zealand government for acting swiftly, especially after the confirmation that the new Covid-19 cases had the UK variant of the virus and have not been linked to any managed isolation or quarantine case.

“The UK variant is more transmissible, more infectious and easier to get. That is why there is a concern. We have seen overseas what can happen if we do not act quickly. It’s important to keep our communities safe.”

She says this uncertainty is concerning for Pacific families, but she is proud to see first-hand the community’s vigilance in complying with health guidelines, like wearing masks in public, social distancing and sanitizing regularly at testing stations.

“We are resilient. We need to follow the rules in order to clamp down on the community transmission. It’s important that we listen and do what we need to do.”

The South Seas Healthcare Covid-19 testing station opens from 8:30am to 4pm tomorrow.

#pmafamily #pmaunite

Date: Tuesday 16 February 2021