Do not panic, mayor urges

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Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher is urging people not to panic after the district’s first case of Covid-19 was confirmed on Saturday.

A confirmed case of the virus in the Waitaki district was inevitable, Mr Kircher said.

“We have been waiting, and we are ready for it,” he said.

“There is no need to get anxious … If you have been doing the right things, please keep doing them. Take the necessary precautions and keep yourself and your family safe.”

While there had been calls from the public for more specific details of the Waitaki case, the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) said it would now only report by territorial authority to maintain patient confidentiality.

Anyone who had been in close contact with the infected person would have been identified and contacted, Mr Kircher said.

“Contact tracing is carried out thoroughly for each case, and that will usually identify any people who have been in close contact with the person,” he said.

“If the person in this case has been taking the right precautions, then he or she will have helped protect everyone around them outside their bubble. That is why it is so important for us all to take those precautions.”

Mr Kircher said he would be speaking to the SDHB about the case today.

“That’s just about making sure that the right support has been put in place for them and making sure that they are OK and their family’s OK,” he said.