“We are here, and you are at the front of our minds”. That’s the message from Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Group Controller Clinton Naude. 

While most of the country is at alert level 2, Civil Defence Bay of Plenty is not currently activated. But Mr Naude says there is still plenty of work going on behind the scenes. 

“In times of difficulty, kiwis want to feel like they are doing something and they want to know local officials are getting ready. But unlike earthquake or flood responses, a lot of the work being done for COVID-19 doesn’t involve things like sandbags or high-vis clothing.”

Mr Naude says one important thing people can do this time is to download the COVID tracing app and start using it immediately to record their movements.

“We have many different iwi in our rohe and a wide range of economic and social circumstances. The app will help speed up contact tracing if you have come into contact with a person who has tested positive.”

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is made up of all seven of the region’s councils and works closely with Iwi, police, emergency services, DHBs and central government. Clinton Naude says those groups and other agencies had already put in a lot of work prior to the latest increase in alert levels. 

“Right now people in all those organisations are working hard to make sure people in the Bay are looked after properly, whatever happens next.”

“Any time there is an event, we look at what went well and what needed to be better. Before this current resurgence we had lots of hui and debriefs so we could all learn and apply the lessons from the initial COVID-19 response.”

Mr Naude says despite uncertainty about what the resurgence of the pandemic will mean for people, his team is calmly working to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

“Like everyone, we are preparing for what may happen and we will be here to support the people of our region along with all our partners who are committed to the same goal.”