Community spirit and common sense are set to keep South Otago strong and safe as Covid› 19 closes in.
As far back as December 2019, rumours of ‘‘Sars›2’’ were creeping into the news, and nearly two years ago on March 25, 2020, our lives changed as we went ‘‘hard and early’’ into an unprecedented Level›4 lockdown.
By the end of February this year, the Omicron variant was established in Dunedin.
Last week Clutha district schools upheld their responsibility to inform the community as cases arose, and as of Monday, March 7, Ministry of Health statistics showed up to 96% of New Zealanders were vaccinated.
Leaders of key institutes and emergency services interviewed last week were calmly confident Clutha was well equipped and well prepared for the long› anticipated arrival of the global pandemic.
NZ Fire & Emergency Service group manager — Clutha district Rob Torrance confirmed his department had consulted and prepared protocols well in advance.
‘‘We’ve long had systems in place for managing callouts to Covid›positive locations, and our stations and crews are well organised to attend emergencies, even with personnel of our own likely to be affected by being in isolation,’’ he said.
Clutha/Taieri area response manager Senior Sergeant Chris Wakelin made a similar announcement from Balclutha police.
“The Clutha police, which includes Clinton, Owaka, Lawrence and Milton, began planning for the onset of Covid in our community long ago.
‘‘The level of service we provide during this challenging time will be unchanged.
‘‘We will be available 24/7 as always, so rest assured that if you need us we will be there.
‘‘Please stay safe and look after one another,” Snr Sgt Wakelin said. Clutha District Council Mayor Bryan Cadogan regretted that a scheduled Zoom meeting for all mayors meant he was unavailable to join the photograph accompanying this article.
With this indication that councils were organised and continuing to take care of business and services regardless of the pandemic, Mr Cadogan expressed faith in his home district’s ability to meet the weeks ahead with stoicism and as a team.
‘‘With understandable concern for what’s ahead, we’ve gathered collective strength from work and precautions already made and now face these challenges from the best position possible.
‘‘Recent engagement with our district’s health providers, service agencies and volunteer groups has shown these magnificent teams are well prepared, and we’re grateful for their professionalism and care.
‘‘This is a time to be calm and positive as we look out for each other, and with the efforts we make toward the safety of our families, friends and neighbours we’ll look back on this as something we came through together,’’ Mr Cadogan said.
Clutha Leader also looks forward to continued news and service distribution, and invites readers in the know with local news and developments of interest to tip us off as usual.