Bay of Plenty DHB Updates Visitor Policy

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board recognises the important role of visitors in the healing process. With this in mind, we have updated our visitor policy under COVID-19 Alert Level 3, while continuing to protect patients and staff from any potential risk of exposure.
Hospital facilities at Tauranga and Whakatāne have moved from ‘no visitors’ to a restricted visitor’s policy, effective immediately. However, this policy may change as we continue to monitor the risks to hospital workers and the public.
Visitor access is now as follows:

  • Visitors to be approved on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Clinical Nurse Manager/Clinical Midwife Manager or Duty Nurse Manager. This could be for compassionate grounds or for patients who are palliative and receiving end of life care.
  • An approved visitor can only enter and leave once daily.
  • One parent or guardian is able to accompany any hospitalised child age 16 or under in either the Children’s Unit or Emergency Department.
  • One nominated support person can accompany a woman in labour and birth. The nominated support person may visit once daily and stay as long as the woman wants. No overnight stays will be permitted unless the woman is in labour and for early post-natal support.
  • Mothers only, are permitted to the Special Care Baby Unit.
  • Should a patient be confirmed with COVID-19, or suspicious or probable for COVID-19, then no visitors are allowed.
  • In all cases where a visitor is allowed access to any BOPDHB facility, appropriate screening will take place before they are allowed to enter the facility to ensure they are well.
  • Visiting hours will be from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

BOPDHB Incident Management Team, Incident Controller Bronwyn Anstis says the changes acknowledge the importance of visitors when family, whānau and friends are in hospital.
“We appreciate it has been a difficult time during Alert Level 4 and we are very grateful to the public for their understanding, and helping us to ensure that priority is given to the needs and care of the patients, the safety and security of staff.
We also need to ensure that contact tracing can be facilitated should any patient, visitor or employee subsequently be diagnosed with COVID-19.”
Ms Anstis says the BOPDHB has considered a number of factors in developing its policy for Alert Level 3. These include the number of patients currently in hospital and how physical distancing will be managed.
“Our policy may differ from those of other DHBs because we all have different circumstances and different factors to weigh up. We are confident that these visitor measures will allow us to keep patients and staff safe under Alert Level 3.”
In this period of a Restricted Visitor’s policy, Māori Health Gains and Development are available to provide guidance and support to Māori whānau who want to understand how to provide manaakitanga to their loved ones in the hospitals.
People wanting to discuss this change in policy can call the Patient Information Centre 0800 333 477 or email
Whānau can ask to be referred to Māori Health Gains and Development through the Patient Information Centre.

Whakatāne COVID-19 assessment centre new opening hours from Monday 27 April

The Whakatāne COVID-19 assessment centre will be changing its opening hours from Monday 27 April.

The Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC), based at Whakatāne War Memorial Hall, will be opening daily (except Sunday) from 9am-12.30pm starting Monday.

New opening hours: Whakatāne CBAC, at Whakatāne War Memorial Hall, Short Street

From, and including, Monday 27 April:

Monday-Saturday               9am-12.30pm

Sunday                                 Closed

Bay of Plenty Community Based Health Services Lead Dr Joe Bourne said the move was in anticipation of, and a response to, an increase in demand for services.

“Since we have been given a timetable for a reduction in Alert Level, and with the ongoing messages that anyone with the slightest cough or cold should get an assessment, we’ve seen increased demand at our assessment centres.

“Following on from previous statements made when we see, or anticipate, increased demand we will increase our capacity. We want this service to be as accessible as possible for our community, whilst also making best use of our resources, and we will therefore be open every day apart from Sundays in Whakatāne from 9am-12.30pm.

“Depending on what’s happening within our communities as we move forward we will continue to flex with demand and amend opening hours accordingly. I would like to say that we’re really grateful to the community for their understanding with this approach.”

The Whakatāne assessment centre is closed today (Thursday 23 April), open on Friday 24 April 9am-12.30pm and Saturday 25 April 10am-4pm, and closed on Sunday 26 April, before the new opening times begin on Monday.

While CBACs continue to support our healthcare system by assessing and treating people with, for example, coughs, colds and sore throat, general practice remains open and able to assess all other types of health issues.

For information on CBACs, the latest health updates relating to COVID-19, plus answers to frequently asked questions, go to

For more details contact:

James Fuller

Communications Advisor – Bay of Plenty District Health Board

DDI: 07 579 8411

Mobile: 027 839 1791


Address health concerns with your family doctor as usual

Have any health concerns you would usually see your family doctor about? Get in touch with your GP as normal, irrespective of the lockdown, that’s the message coming from Bay of Plenty GPs.

Local general practices and health organisations are strongly urging people to get in touch with their family doctor and health service providers with any health issues as they usually would.

Since the lockdown there has been a decline in patients contacting their local practices, a trend that is concerning said General Manager of Practice Services at Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation (WBOPPHO) Phil Back.

“It is concerning because it likely means that people are holding back from making contact with their doctor about health matters, which could result in conditions worsening,” said Phil.

The same was being seen in the Eastern Bay, said Eastern Bay Primary Health Association (EBPHA) Clinical Director Rachel Shouler.

“Practices are open, offering normal services and available to deal with all health issues,” said Rachel. “We need to be looking after ourselves through this lockdown and beyond, so putting off calling the doctor isn’t the answer.”

Some practices are now calling patients they know to have chronic health conditions to ensure they are doing okay.

Practices are operating based on advice and health guidelines designed to keep patients safe. All are asking patients to get in touch by phone in the first instance so that doctors can triage cases. Next steps are then advised.

“General practices are there to attend to all health concerns and wellbeing issues – whether they be acute or exacerbated long-term conditions,” said Phil Back.

“We are also urging people to apply for a Community Services Card from Work and Income if their financial circumstances have changed, such as loss of income.

“This card will ensure your healthcare is subsidised and therefore cheaper for you.”

Click here to find out more about the Community Services Card:

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners has published some FAQs on this subject on its website. To access them go to:


For more information and updates, visit the official Ministry of Health website COVID-19 page:

The BOP Health COVID-19 Response website has good local information, including a contact email address for questions about COVID-19

For more details contact:

James Fuller

Communications Advisor – Bay of Plenty District Health Board

DDI: 07 579 8411

Mobile: 027 839 1791

Fax: 07 577 9195      



Eastern Bay Pop-Up COVID assessment centre sites and times announced

Pop-Up drive-through COVID assessment clinics are continuing throughout the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Destinations for the one-day clinics during April include Murupara, Waimana, Rūātoki, Waikaremoana and Ruatāhuna with more locations being assessed and planned where possible. The clinics ensure anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can access services without travel barriers.

The dates and times for April are as follows:

Murupara (in partnership with Te Ika Whenua Hauora)

Wed 15 April – Koromiko Street             10am-2pm

Tūhoe (in partnership with Ngai Tūhoe)

Te Waimana: Fri 17 April – Rugby Grounds                            10am-2pm

Rūātoki: Wed 22 April – Ohutu Marae                                    10am-2pm

Waikaremoana: Fri 24 April – Waikaremoana Clubrooms   10am-2pm

Ruatāhuna: Wed 29 April – Te Tii Hub, Ruatāhuna                10am-2pm

The mobile Pop Ups provide a kaupapa Māori mobile service to ensure small and rural communities have accessible COVID-19 assessment; and incorporates wrap around services. The drive-throughs have been set up by Te Puna Ora o Mataatua (TPOOM) and Eastern Bay PHA (EBPHA) with support from Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB), in collaboration with local iwi in each area.

With future clinic times subject to change, in response to the healthcare needs of the community, ongoing dates for all COVID-19 assessment clinic services will be kept up-to-date at

The process will assess, test (if needed) and manage people with potential COVID-19 symptoms while minimising risk of transmission and ensuring wrap around services are also offered. TPOOM is providing Whanau Ora support with resources, information and support ranging from information about hygiene and isolation through to hardship and emotional support.

For the coming week the operating times for the established static sites in the Eastern Bay of Plenty are as follows:

Whakatāne (at Whakatāne War Memorial Hall)

Thursday 16April      Closed

Friday 17April           9am-12.30pm

Saturday 18 April      10am-4pm

Sunday 19 April        Closed

Monday 20April        9am-12.30pm

Ōpōtiki (at Ōpōtiki Senior Citizens Hall)

Thursday 16 April      10am-2pm

Kawerau (at the Ron Hardie Recreation Centre Car Park)

Thursday 16 April      10am-2pm

All patients with the following symptoms are eligible to be seen at the drive-thru facility:

• Cough
• Shortness of Breath
• Sore Throat
• Runny Nose

All symptoms can be with or without fever. If you have your NHI number, please bring this with you. If you are unsure if you meet the eligibility, please call your General Practice or Healthline for advice.

All patients are required to arrive at the drive-thru assessment centre in a vehicle, only with people within your bubble. Those who don’t have access to a vehicle, contact the Te Puna Ora Covid-19 support line on 0800 MATAATUA (628 228) and press 9 for their dedicated line.

For more details contact:

James Fuller

Communications Advisor – Bay of Plenty District Health Board

DDI: 07 579 8411

Mobile: 027 839 1791


Mental health and wellbeing

Ministry of Health has launched Getting Through Together which is an online platform with information and resources about how to take care of your mental health. This is the first of a range of initiatives to support the mental wellbeing of New Zealanders and focuses on helping people understand how they can look after themselves and others. It includes a section that is specifically for frontline workers. These resources can be accessed online or over the phone and are intended to supplement rather than replace the support that New Zealanders already receive from their doctors, mental health professionals and other services.

COVID-19 Support – Māori Business Response

Māori businesses have a dedicated 0800 helpline to coordinate direct access to specialist advisors who can provide business owners and employers during these difficult times.

The 0800 4 POUTAMA (0800 476 882) COVID-19 Māori Business support line for Māori businesses was launched last week to give you direct access to specialist advisors who can provide the support you require as business owners and employers during these difficult times.

The Government is doing everything it can to cushion the impact on businesses through the many support packages that have been announced to date.  However, we know from the feedback we are getting that understanding and accessing this information as well as navigating through the system can be difficult for some people.

NZ Māori Tourism (NZMT), FOMA, POUTAMA and the Māori Women’s Development Inc. (MWDI) have united to fully utilise our collective resources, expertise and networks to support you as COVID-19 continues to impact on us all.

The 0800 line will be open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and we will continue to check voicemail throughout the weekend.  The 0800 will be operated by the all hands-on-deck whānau from Poutama as well as our extended whānau of NZMT, MWDI, TPK & FOMA.

You can also find the number on our Facebook page and website.  This service is available to all Māori businesses adversely affected by COVID-19.  Even if you aren’t adversely affected give us a call for a catch up and korero, we’d love to hear how you’re doing in these uncertain times!!

Kia haumaru te noho.

New closing time for Whakatāne COVID-19 assessment centre announced

Tuesday 7 April, 2020

The Whakatāne COVID-19 assessment centre will be opening from 9am-4pm daily starting this Thursday (9 April).

The new opening hours mean the Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC) at the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall will be closing two hours earlier than it had been previously.

Bay of Plenty Community Based Health Services Lead Dr Joe Bourne said the move came as a result of processes being fine-tuned.

“We’ve been able to fine tune the processes since the assessment centre was launched and are comfortable that we are able to see the current anticipated numbers within the new opening hours,” he said. “Should those numbers increase we have the scope and capacity to move with that and increase the hours again should that be necessary.”

Over the last five days, Thursday 2 April to Monday 6 April, the average number of patients seen each day at the centre was 48. Experience had shown that there was also a tendency for the majority of those patients to be seen in the morning added Dr Bourne.

The assessment centre will still be operating daily and will be open throughout the Easter Weekend at the new time of 9am-4pm.

For information on CBACs, the latest health updates relating to COVID-19, plus answers to frequently asked questions, a new website has been created by BOP and Lakes DHBs. You can find it at:

Enquiries to the BOP HEALTH COVID-19 response team can be emailed to:

For more details contact:

James Fuller

Communications Advisor – Bay of Plenty District Health Board

DDI: 07 579 8411

Mobile: 027 839 1791




The National Iwi Chairs Forum welcomes the further clarity and guidance on Alert Level 4 rules during lockdown, issued by Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield over the weekend.
Speaking from the Wellington base of the National Iwi Chairs Forums newly activated Pandemic Response Group (PRG), Chair Mike Smith says, ‘The 701F notice, issued under the Health Act 1956 is very clear about what people can and can’t do while in isolation. We have been concerned that prior to this clarification, people were making their own interpretation on what forms of recreational activities were acceptable’
The clarification also gives an expectation of what powers the New Zealand Police have in order to enforce the Alert Level 4 rules. ‘We support the fact that this further empowers the police to take greater action to ensure compliance by the public,’ says Smith, ‘while we support Ngāti Porou requesting a military presence in their region, we acknowledge that in other areas, the presence of the New Zealand Police will be enough to ensure that the rules are being followed’
Some iwi are still reporting late night travel under cover of dark, particularly in tourist regions. Of equal concern, are the large numbers of people gathering in urban areas at popular exercise hotspots like outdoor basketball courts and jogging paths.
‘It is alarming to still see the high number of people who continue to flout quarantine rules. If people continue with this behaviour, it will increase the likelihood of community transmission, says Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, Kaiarataki Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui.
‘We are aware there is no Plan B. It is unfortunate that stronger enforcement is the only way to guarantee containment, but too many people are still not taking this as seriously as they need to’
Statistics are showing that it is not Māori people who are transmitting the COVID-19 virus at this stage. ‘The Ministry of Health data now reveals where the largest numbers of confirmed cases are, what the age group is and other details,’ says Lisa Tumahai, Kaiwhakahaere Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
‘While it is not Māori people currently transmitting the COVID-19 virus, we still want to encourage all whānau Māori to stick to the lockdown to help save Māori lives. Our risk is greater than most of the general population. The last thing anyone of us would want to do is be the person that infects all of our own whanau.’
The National Iwi Chairs Forum established the Pandemic Response Group to provide a collaborative platform for iwi and Māori groups to elevate critical needs to urgent decision making during the pandemic.
Mike Smith 021504486

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer 0211303912
NICF – Pandemic Response Group

MEDIA ADVISORY: Level of information available on confirmed and probable cases

Friday, 3 April 2020

Level of information available on confirmed and probable cases

We appreciate media want to know about the number of cases and the breakdown of where those cases are within the Bay of Plenty District Health Board area and the Lakes District Health Board area.

The Ministry of Health is updating the confirmed and probable numbers by DHB on their website, as well as the number of inpatients across all the 20 DHBs and which hospital they are in.  

The Ministry of Health has now approved Toi Te Ora to communicate the regional breakdown of confirmed and probable cases for the Western Bay of Plenty and Eastern Bay of Plenty (covering the Bay of Plenty District Health Board area) and Rotorua and Taupo (covering the Lakes District Health Board area). This information will be published on the Toi Te Ora website between 2pm and 3pm daily.

The BOP Health COVID-19 Response website will be updated too.

For privacy reasons, neither the Bay of Plenty District Health Board nor Lakes District Health Board are unable to provide any further details on any COVID-19 inpatients.

Thank you for your understanding. We’re all in this together.


Bay of Plenty District Health Board                         Lakes District Health Board

Public Information Manager (PIM)                             Public Liaison Manager