Community Update 29 March 2020

We hope everyone’s doing well with the Level 4 Alert shutdown, and keeping those bubbles safe so we can break the chain of virus transmission. Remember: no in person visitors or going visiting. You also may not shuttle between a beach house and a residence elsewhere.

9 people are in hospital, but sadly the country’s first death from Covid-19 was reported today; the stakes are so high for all of us. The good news is that 56 have recovered so far.

20–29 year olds are being hard hit.

Graph showing 20-29 year olds have a high number of cases.

Council rubbish collection will happen as usual tomorrow but recycling will not be collected. Please keep the recycling on your own property, not out on the kerb. The Horowhenua District Council has information on all available services.

It’s been a delight to stroll or bike along the empty streets, while the lack of vehicles has added to the quiet around the place.

Two Facebook Groups have been busy with people socialising or helping out neighbours: the Waikawa Beach group and a new group for folks near Reay Mackay Grove.

If you notice people around you breaking their bubble maybe remind them quietly how important it is we all play our part. If you see someone flouting the restrictions though, Police have a form for reporting breaches.

Other handy info has come from MSD:

  • Countdown and New World online shopping web sites.
  • COVID-19 Healthline 0800 358 5453
  • If you are feeling anxious or just need someone to talk to call or text 1737

The WBRA has cancelled its Easter and Queen’s Birthday Committee meetings and the planned hard rubbish collection.

The Hank Edwards Reserve toilet block has been locked and don’t let kids play on the seesaw in the playground because the handles could transmit the virus.

The Coastguard has asked people not to go out in boats or to do other activities such as surfing (or presumably kitesurfing). If you get into trouble you’ll be creating a problem for the emergency services that would normally be involved in a rescue.

Summer Water Quality sampling has ended early. It’s pleasing to see the river status was green for almost half the time. Since 12 November 2019: 9 green, 6 orange, 5 red.

In other news: Daylight Saving ends on 5 April 2020.

We must stay in our own bubbles

Covid 19 Breaking bubbles illustration.

… the prime minister was really clear on this. Her advice: Act like you have Covid-19. Minimise the time you spend outside your home. That means no going for a leisurely drive or driving to the beach. What if you had an accident or your car broke down? There won’t be a coastguard to get us out of a pickle, so no boating or surfing.

You can go for a walk or a bike ride around your neighbourhood to get some exercise. You can go out to get essentials like food. But stay away from other people. No stopping to chat – even if you are two metres away from each other. Just give a wave and keep moving. Because the virus can live on surfaces for up to three days, don’t take your kids to the playground. Stay at home.

Source: Siouxsie Wiles & Toby Morris: You’re waking up in lockdown New Zealand. Here’s how it works | The Spinoff.

Also don’t go between locations, such as home and bach:

Today is the last day that people can move from their homes to elsewhere, with a Covid-19 national response spokesperson saying those who are planning to self-isolate at their bach need to get there by midnight.

Once there, people will need to stay put until the alert level changes. They can not travel back and forth between their home and their bach.

Source: Covid-19: Big numbers head to coastal baches | RNZ News.

Don’t drive to the beach during lockdown

Don’t even think about driving to the beach or a park for some fresh air once the lockdown starts. That’s the message from police commissioner Mike Bush, who told Newstalk ZB host Chris Lynch that people should only go out in their cars to get essential supplies.

“What happens if somebody wants to go for a drive, say to a local beach or get out and about to a local park?” Lynch asked. “Are they in a position to drive there?”

“There’s a short answer to that – no they’re not,” replied Bush. “You only go out in your vehicle if you need to go and get essential food supplies, essential medical supplies or medical treatment. Otherwise, please stay at home.”

Source: Covid 19 coronavirus: Don’t drive to the beach during lockdown, police warn – NZ Herald.

Hank Edwards Reserve toilets closed

The toilets at Hank Edwards Reserve are now closed, with barriers bolted across the doorways. Link below.

While the seesaw hasn’t been locked off in any way, please don’t let your kids play on it as the corona virus could be passed via the handles.

A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. …

As the country moves into Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, at midnight, we need all the tools at our disposal to ensure everyone reduces down contact with one another across the board.…

“For now, I ask that New Zealanders do their part. Stay home, break the chain, save lives,” [Prime Minister] Jacinda Ardern said.

The best advice we are repeatedly being given is to stay in our bubble.

Look for ways to stay in your bubble, not for loopholes to get out of it.

Act like you have the virus.

Stay home except for essential supplies, such as food or medicine. Exercise outdoors is OK, but avoid all contact with others: try a friendly wave or a conversation from different sides of the street.

If you’re out and about on a walk beware what you touch! The handrails and metal barriers at the footbridge could transmit the virus.

Also keep in mind that patting someone else’s dog or cat is a possible way the virus could spread.

The key thing to think about is: How can I help stop this virus?

BTW: while it seems many folks have come to spend the Level 4 shutdown time at the beach, some properties are empty. Folks intent on theft and burglary won’t stop just because they’re supposed to stay at home. Keep an eye on the houses round you and if you see something suspicious contact the Police.

Toilets closed notice.
Toilets closed notice.
Gates bolted to the concrete.
Gates bolted to the concrete.
Toilet entrance blocked.
Toilet entrance blocked.

Keep in touch with your neighbours and shout out if you need help. We have a fabulous community, let’s get through this in the best of health!

See: Council closes main office, public toilets, playgrounds – Horowhenua District Council.

Walk on the beach, but not with others for a while

As of Monday 23 March 2020 NZ is at Level 3 alert for Covid-19 virus, and we will be at Level 4 by Wednesday. The Prime Minister clarified that while we must stay home, this doesn’t mean we’re confined to the house:

What I am again advising is that people will act in a solitary way locally. You may drive for a walk on your local beach, but you must stay local. We’re asking people to stay local, but there won’t be roadblocks

In cases where people are alone, stay in contact [in person] with only the same people for the entire time.

Coronavirus live updates in NZ and around the world on 23 March | RNZ News.

Covid-19 alert levels chart.
Covid-19 alert levels chart.

She also clarified that what we need to do is to stop associating in person with others, as it is now believed we have community transmission of the virus.

The point is to stop having close contact with numbers of other people.

What we should all do: reach out to others to check on them — perhaps by phone. Reach out if you need help.

Unfortunately, too, any event is one that people with bad intent can exploit. Beware folks you don’t know offering support, and keep an eye out for people who may see this as their chance to burgle properties or steal equipment or vehicles.

If you need help and don’t know who else to turn to then reach out to the Ratepayers Association.

We are a community that cares.

Horowhenua Council closures March 2020

Horowhenua District Council and Kāpiti Coast District Council are joining other councils around the country in closing its community centres and swimming pools following the government’s announcement that New Zealand is at Alert Level 2.

Closures in Horowhenua will affect Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō in Levin …

“Our priority is the health and safety of our community. More than 25% of our district’s population is aged over 65, and it’s important that we play our part in limiting the potential spread of COVID-19. While we regret the need to close our pools and community facilities, we’re confident that our community will understand and support our decision,” Horowhenua Mayor Bernie Wanden said.…

Horowhenua District Council will reassess the closure of its community centres and the Levin Aquatic Centre in two weeks. However, Foxton Pool, which is near the end of its open season, will not open again until spring. …

Council’s service centre at 126 Oxford Street in Levin remains open.…

Loan periods have been extended on all Libraries Horowhenua books, magazines, DVDs and jigsaws, and we are asking people to keep any items they currently have on loan at home. Any items returned late due to the closure of community centres will have any fines forgiven.

Libraries Horowhenua is also offering its Homelink book delivery service to anyone who would like to receive library services from home.

Source: Councils move to protect communities from COVID-19 – Horowhenua District Council.