Media Release 28 March 2020 - Western Waikato Emergency Operations Centre Established

28 Mar 2020, 12:00 PM

A local Civil Defence Emergency Management Centre (EOC) has been activated to help deal with the non-health related responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic and support the Ministry of Health.

Comprising Waipa, Ōtorohanga and Waitomo District Councils, the Western Waikato Emergency Operations Centre (WWEOC) was operational at 0800hrs on Thursday 26 March, and will operate seven days a week until further notice

WWEOC Controller Wayne Allan says the focus of the WWEOC is to lead and coordinate the non-health consequences of COVID-19, across the Western Waikato CDEM area.

"A State of National Emergency triggers a lot of action across the country and through the activation of an EOC, we are able to support the Waikato DHB to deliver their health response and provide positive leadership and reassurance to our communities through accurate and timely communications,” says Mr Allan.

EOC members are currently focused on identifying vulnerable groups, particularly those vulnerable to COVID-19, as well as identifying local distributors and distribution hubs to ensure continuity of supply lines, maintaining essential services and supporting the community-based assessment centres (CBAC) located in the area.

"There are a lot of avenues of help available to our residents in our communities and we will be looking for those who need to connect with these services,” he says.

Volunteering Waikato is taking expressions of interest from those who want to support their community during the COVID-19 response.

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Mr Allan urges people to do the right thing, stay home, and maintain social distancing requirements.

“I am hopeful that using emergency powers to close places, roads and reserves or setting up road blocks will not be necessary, but our local controllers will do so if directed by our Group Emergency Management Controller in conjunction with the New Zealand Police.

“We are closely monitoring our communities and if we receive information that people are flouting the rules then we will use the powers necessary to protect our communities.

“The safety of our communities is paramount.”

All health updates on COVID-19 or information on community-based assessment centres are managed by the Ministry of Health.