Dr Nick Baker is appealing for people with existing or new medical issues to seek help if they need it. Photo: File

No new Covid-19 cases in Marlborough

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in Marlborough for the fourth day in a row.

The number of cases across Nelson Marlborough DHB is 48 with 12 confirmed cases and nine probable cases in Marlborough.

There are 19 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, taking the total number to 1349.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says 546 people across the country who had Covid-19 have now recovered, 75 more people than yesterday.

The news as comes as Nelson Marlborough Health officials appeal to people not to delay seeking help for other new or existing health conditions.

A delay in getting help could see little problems develop into major issues, warns Nelson Marlborough Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Baker.

“We have seen cases recently where people have put off getting health care and illnesses have got worse.

“What may start as a minor issue could become serious if you leave it too long,” he says.

“Please don’t wait until the end of weekends, public holidays, or until the end of the lockdown period, to seek medical attention,” he says.

For more information about where to get healthcare in the Nelson Marlborough region, go to: www.nmdhb.govt.nz/healthcare/

People with new or existing health worries should not delay in getting medical help and advice, doctors warn. Photo: File

Get medical help if needed implore health bosses

People with health problems are leaving it too late to get help, putting themselves at risk during lockdown medical bosses warn.

Health care professionals are urging people not to put off seeking medical help for problems that could become a bigger risk if not treated.

Nelson Marlborough healthcare professionals say people should call their doctor or practice nurse if they are sick in a bid to stop medical problems becoming more serious.

A delay in getting help because of fears about leaving isolation could see little problems develop into major issues, warns Nelson Marlborough Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Baker.

“We have seen cases recently where people have put off getting health care and illnesses have got worse.

“What may start as a minor issue could become serious if you leave it too long,” he says.

“Please don’t wait until the end of weekends, public holidays, or until the end of the lockdown period, to seek medical attention.”

GP clinics, health centres, Healthline, urgent care centres, pharmacies and emergency departments are open during lockdown.

“People can contact their local urgent care clinic or call the general Healthline number for advice.

“For emergencies, people shouldn’t hesitate to call 111 or go to a hospital emergency department.

“Our teams are there to provide care and that hasn’t changed during the Covid-19 response or lockdown period,” says Dr Baker.

Acting Chief Executive of Nelson Bays Primary Health Karen Winton encourages anyone to call their GP clinic for advice.

She says older people should be especially vigilant and reach out for help if they need it. Help is at hand, she says.

“These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary measures. But the message is clear, general practice (your family doctor) and urgent care centres are open for business, even if that business is delivered in a slightly different way.

“If you are over 70 and not meant to be leaving your home during the lockdown period, please call your GP first for a phone assessment.

“If you need to be seen, come in and they will make sure you are safe when you visit.

“Using a car to seek essential health care is allowed, and the sooner you are assessed, the better your health outcome will usually be.”

During lockdown, patients are being offered consultations over the phone, email or video call.

But people should not be afraid to leave their bubble for help if needed, with medical staff on hand to help. Patients will be seen in person if they need to be.

Dr Baker emphasises people should not delay seeking help for urgent needs due to fear of leaving their bubble and being at risk of being infected with COVID-19.

“New Zealand hospitals follow international best practice for infection prevention.

“Things will look different when you go to an after-hours clinic or ED. You may be screened – asked questions about your symptoms – at the door for example, given a mask to wear, or assessed in a cabin outside of the main building.

“These are all precautions to keep you and others safe from infection,” he says.

For more information about where to get healthcare in the Nelson Marlborough region, go to: www.nmdhb.govt.nz/healthcare/

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

No new Covid-19 cases in region for two days

There have been no new Covid-19 cases in the Nelson Marlborough region since 9 April.

Health bosses say 26 people have now recovered from the virus.

The total cases for Marlborough remians 12 confirmed and 9 probable.

Nelson has 21 confirmed cases and 6 probable.

More than 1000 people have been assessed and 600 tested in Marlborough, Nelson and Motueka.

All cases are travel-related and there is no evidence of community outbreak.

Covid-19 kills milk delivery

Milk delivery in Marlborough has become a casualty of Covid-19.

The first milk delivery service in Marlborough for 30 years, Milk and More, has closed its Blenheim run.

Owner Trevor Nicholls, in a Facebook post, says a disagreement with their glass-bottle milk supplier was the final straw for the business.

“This is deeply saddening for myself and my staff and I am aware that so many other businesses and individuals are in the same boat,” Trevor says.

“Covid-19 has affected individuals, communities, businesses and many other groups in an immense way.”

He says at the beginning Milk and More intended to deliver through the level four lockdown.

“We were then told that we would not be deemed an essential business – many of us here breathed a sigh of relief as we would not be exposing ourselves, our families and our customers to a greater risk of the virus spreading.”

Then, on March 6, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced butchers, bakers and greengrocers would be able to make home deliveries.

“Although this decision gave us the opportunity to recommence milk deliveries, I’d had time to think about the risks presented with picking up glass bottles from over 5,000 houses across the top of the South.

“So, I made the difficult decision to only supply Anchor Milk in plastic bottles for the immediate future.

“Our glass bottle milk supplier did not see eye to eye with me on this, and as a result, have terminated the relationship between us.”

Trevor says not having glass-bottle milk would see him lose most of his customers.

“Despite this, I stand by my choice to cease glass bottle pickup while in lock-down and will always be of the opinion that the safety of my staff and customers comes above business profitability and success.

“It has been my absolute pleasure in servicing Blenheim and the surrounding areas with Milk and More products over the years.

“Thank you for your support, loyalty and friendly faces. I wish you all the best.”

Suppliers to Milk and More, Oaklands Milk, based in Stoke, is looking to resume home delivery in re-usable glass bottles.

To register your interest in getting milk bottle deliveries, email [email protected]

Haircuts will have to wait until lockdown restrictions are eased. File photo.

Hairdos are hairdon’ts until lockdown hits level two

Manes will go untamed until lockdown restrictions are eased.

The national body of hairdressers has revealed hair cuts are off the table until the alert level is lowered to level two.

Cutz on Weld owner Toni-Marie Robinson says it’s reassuring to have a governing body with the foresight to guide small business owners in these troubling times.

“I feel as an industry we are dealing with customers extremely closely,” she says. “I certainly think it is a fair ruling.”

“All our clients are totally supportive, as they understand this is affecting not only us as a nation but the whole world.”

Guidelines released by the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers outline what their members can and can’t do during the Covid-19 quarantine.

Online sales of haircare products are permitted at level three and four, but they can’t do hairdos until level two.

And there are strict guidelines when they reopen, including physical distancing, staggered shifts and those over 70 and immunocompromised prohibited from salons and barbers.

Toni-Marie says it’s a small price to pay.

“If we don’t have our health, we don’t have businesses, so it is a small price to pay to live,” she says.

“We aren’t in this alone.

“This is a once in a lifetime world pandemic, and we as New Zealanders know how to join together and fight.”

But she says there is a bright side.

And with the professionals maintaining their own bubbles, Kiwis have turned to the trusty mixing bowl in droves.

Mullets and bowl cuts have made a comeback as New Zealanders celebrate the number 8 wire mentality with DIY trims.

“We as a business are looking forward to seeing the wild a wacky hairstyles walking through the door,” Toni-Marie says.

Some people are living on their vessel during lockdown but recreational boating is strictly prohibited. File photo.

Easter holiday-makers warned off Marlborough Sounds

Easter traditionally sees the Marlborough Sounds full to bursting with holiday makers enjoying the area before the long winter months.

While some international travellers have holed up in the Sounds, during the lockdown, the waterways are reserved for essential travel only.

And boaties have been given the thumbs up for behaving well while Covid-19 keeps them mainly moored-up.

Marlborough harbour master Luke Grogan says while there is some nervousness around people wanting to visit their bach during Easter, most people have responded positively.

“Everyone is hopeful people will continue in the main doing what they have been doing, that is staying home,” he says.

Luke says Port Marlborough’s message is clear, no recreational boating and if you don’t need to travel, don’t.

“We are going to have a presence on the water to support the efforts of all the people who are complying,” he says.

Alongside police, Port Marlborough staff have been running regular patrols in the Marlborough and Pelorus Sounds.

“There might have been half a dozen boats [not complying] early on during the lockdown.

“In the last few patrols, that number has dropped.”

He says Sounds residents with no road access, or those spending the lockdown on their vessel, still need to eat and they’re allowed to travel to town to stock up their pantries.

Public with concerns about boats travelling within the Sounds are encouraged to go to the police directly.

“Our powers are to do with navigation safety.

“The power with decisions around people breaking lockdown rest with the police,” Luke says.

He says those living in the sounds, or on their vessel should be staying in one place.

“They shouldn’t be going for an afternoon sail.

“They should be on a mooring, or in some instance at anchor, and stay there for the duration.

Luke says he has staff monitoring that space and if there were any red flags they would have notified the police.

He says most of the community has been complying in a bid to stop the virus.

“It’s a case of working together,” he says.

“If people have concerns about their boats, their security or safety on the moorings, genuine concerns, call the harbour office and we could organise and visit to the vessel on their behalf.

Luke says people in Marlborough have a high level of seamanship and know how important it is to make sure their vessels are safe.

“Don’t risk it and break the rules. Talk to us in the first instance.”

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

One more Marlborough patient likely to have Covid-19

A woman in her 40s is the latest person to become ill with Covid-19 in Marlborough, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

Today’s announcement takes the total numer of confirmed and probable cases of the virus to 48 across Nelson and Marlborough Dustricy Health Board. Twenty one of these cases are in Marlborough.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says there is still no evidence of community transmisson with all cases connected to travel.

No cases are in hospital and patients are isolating at home.

The news comes as the total number of cases nationwide sits at 1239, with 29 new cases today; the lowest daily number since before lockdiwn started.

Addressing the country earlier this afternoon, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Kiwis have played a vital role in keeping the number of cases down.

Drivers caught breaking lockdown may face arrest. Photo: File

Drivers caught out breaking lockdown for an Easter break

A plea by police for people not to breach self-solation over Easter is falling on deaf ears for some.

Nelson Marlborough and Tasman Police have caught the drivers of eight campervans and house buses at a checkpoint on SH6 this morning.

All have been trying to head north from Murchison for Easter, say police.

This comes as police revealed they would be ramping up efforts on the roads to catch out those flouting lockdown rules.

“We are checking to see why people are travelling.

So far eight camper vans and house buses have been turned around and ordered back to their Christchurch homes where they were supposed to be rather than trying to get to an Easter Holiday destination,” says a social media post.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster is urging people to stay stay and stay at home.

“We know many New Zealanders may have been planning to catch up with friends and family this weekend, or travel to traditional holiday destinations but we urge anyone who was planning to do this – please change your plans and stay home.

“Officers will be visible in our communities and on the roads, including around popular holiday spots, and on the arterial roads to them, to make sure people are aware of the requirement that everyone in New Zealand need to stay at their current place of residence while the Level 4 restrictions are in place,” he says.

Police will also be deploying checkpoints at a number of Marlborough locations, working with local authorities and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups.

Police Commissioner Coster warns people face arrest if they continue to ignore warnings.

Travelling to the bach for a holiday is not essential travel and it is not permitted, he says.

“It’s simple – travelling to and from different towns and cities risks spreading Covid-19 and puts lives at risk.

“The first step will be to educate, but if people continue to break the rules, police will use their discretion to warn people, or if necessary, they could be arrested.

“We’re asking everyone to play their part this Easter, stick to the rules and stay home within their bubble – and keep themselves and their communities safe.”

Some freedom campers using supermarkets during lockdown have been abused. Photo: Supplied.

Freedom campers face lockdown abuse

Freedom campers given emergency accommodation are coming under fire from the public.

The covid-19 crisis spurred council to take swift action to protect the region’s homeless and freedom campers in the area.

But people using their vans to get to and from the supermarket are being accused by some of flouting the rules.

Council’s Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says there is not a freedom camper in the region they are not aware of.

“They are in campgrounds all over the region and when they’re going to the supermarket and need to take their campers or vans, they are being abused like nobody’s business.

“People need to lay off and be kind; think about the impression they’re giving of New Zealand,” he says.

Emergency accommodation has been found for all known people sleeping rough or freedom campers trapped in Marlborough as the lockdown came into effect.

Marlborough District Council are picking up the bill for both groups, but all costs will be recouped.

Forty freedom campers have been found accommodation elsewhere in campsites across Marlborough.

“Emergency accommodation for people who’re sleeping on the streets has been found and we don’t know of any freedom campers who have not been directed elsewhere.

“Because we’ve directed them to going there [to lodgings] we’ll pay bills initially and will recover 100 per cent from central Government coffers,” Brian says.

He also wants to reassure members of the public that no money raised from rates was being spent on people from out with the region.

“We’re making sure of it by having a really robust system that everyone gets and can keep track of so it can all be reconciled at the end,” he says.

Brian also paid tribute to campground owners and hoteliers for their support during a tough time.

“They’ve been phenomenal.

“I can’t emphasise enough how brilliant the majority have been who’ve just taken people on when we’ve asked.

“We’re seeing a lot of the best in people, occasionally the worst, but mainly the best.”

Redwoodtown Countdown. Photo: Matt Brown.

Thoughtless shoppers’ glove gaffe

Careless customers given free gloves to help protect them from Covid-19 are ditching them in supermarket carparks.

What started as a courtesy to shoppers “backfired” for a Redwoodtown supermarket manager.

And horrified Redwoodtown residents are urging shoppers to put their used gloves in the bins provided.

Countdown Redwoodtown store manager Daniel Van Royen says he is “disappointed” that gloves were being dropped in the carpark and around the community.

“We’ve put controls in place and are notifying customers,” he says.

Daniel made gloves available at the front door, along with hand sanitizer, for customers to the Redwoodtown supermarket.

“All of a sudden we had gloves blowing everywhere,” Daniel says.

“I thought I was doing the right thing and it backfired a bit.”

In a Facebook post, one Redwoodtown resident says more than 50 gloves had blown up their driveway and onto their garden.

“We too want to remain free of the virus and would prefer not to come in contact with it as we clean up used plastic gloves,” the post says.

Daniel says after seeing the state of the carpark, and the surrounding area, he went and did a tidy up himself.

Now, the gloves have been moved from the front door and are available at the checkout.

More bins have been added to the entrance and exits.

“We get customers breaking rules, but we’re educating them,” Daniel says.

“It’s just like the lockdown rules, 90 per cent are good and 10 per cent aren’t.”

He says customers have got better as they’ve become more accustomed to the lockdown rules.

“We had aggressive customers at the beginning, but that has died down.

“People would reach past for products as we were stocking shelves, breaking our bubbles.”

He says posters on trolleys are proving a useful tool to help educate the public.

“Be self-aware,” he says. “It’s not a normal shop.”

“Queue up patiently and make sure you’re keeping your distance.”

He wants to remind shoppers that there should only be one person per household doing the grocery shop.

And to throw your rubbish in the bin.

“I would rather be at home, safe, with my two kids,” he says.

“But we’re providing an essential service.”