Sunday 18 July 2021Health news10 minutes to read
Sunday 18 July 2021 – 8.00pm
Please attribute comment to Philip Wheble, Incident Controller, West Coast DHB
Buller Health remains closed and is likely to be closed for at least a week due to flood water damaging the centre’s boiler-house and getting into the tunnels under the health centre. The boiler-house provides the energy to heat the facility and is also the source of hot water for the health centre.
An Emergency Operations Centre has been set up within Buller Health where some portable heaters can be used. The Health Centre itself doesn’t appear to be too badly damaged. It’s expected the grounds are going to require a significant clean up once the water recedes.
We hope to be back up and running at Buller Health from Monday 26 July – this is yet to be confirmed and will depend on how fast we can dry out and carry out the essential repairs in the Boilerhouse.
In the meantime, a temporary medical ward has been set up in Club Buller in Queen Street and will remain operational this week.
Some of the patients who spent last night in Club Buller (after being transferred from Foote Ward at Buller Health) have now been safely transferred to Te Nīkau Hospital in Greymouth by St John Ambulance by road, with some travelling by helicopter – depending on their condition. One person has been discharged home.
There are currently 3 patients in the makeshift ward. Additional staff have arrived from Greymouth to relieve the local team who can now rest and see how their homes have fared in the flooding.
Some hospital beds have been transported by Unimog to the temporary ‘Club Buller’ health facility for use by the seriously ill patients who are more comfortable in an adjustable bed rather than a mattress on the floor.
Primary health care – a pop-up drop-in clinic to open in Westport, Monday – Friday
A primary care drop in clinic staffed by a GP and nurses will be open this week at the COVAX vaccination clinic at 51 Russell Street, Westport.
*Note they will not be giving COVID-19 vaccinations. All vaccinations have been cancelled this week in Westport.
The clinic opens tomorrow morning, Monday 19 July at 11am – 4.30pm and then from Tuesday until Friday it will be open from 10 until 4.30pm.
Everyone with urgent health care needs is welcome to attend – no appointment necessary.
If you have a respiratory illness and are coming to the clinic, please wear a mask or face covering.
And if it’s an emergency, please call 111 – emergency services are operating.
Information for people with Outpatient appointments at Buller Health or GP appointments at Buller Medical (the primary care practice) on Monday 19 or Tuesday July 20 2021
If you have a pre-booked appointment with a GP or nurse at Buller Medical on Monday or Tuesday an outpatient appointment this week at Buller Health please consider it postponed – unless you hear otherwise.
A limited number of outpatient appointments are going ahead at an alternative location, and anyone affected will be contacted directly.
Please note that there is no X-Ray facility at Buller Health this week.
If you need an urgent blood test or repeat prescriptions please visit the temporary Urgent Care clinic.
Buller Pharmacy in Westport, at 168 Palmerston Street will be open tomorrow for over the counter medications and health advice.
Meals on Wheels for Buller recipients
West Coast DHB prepares Meals on Wheels for around 60 people in the district each weekday. They are delivered by volunteer drivers coordinated by Red Cross.
Our team has been calling recipients today to check if meals are still needed this week, as we know many people have moved in with family or friends or are at a welfare centre.
If you, or someone you know usually gets Meals on Wheels delivered and you haven’t already heard from us, please call us on 03 769 7759 to let us know if you still need meals delivered this week.
Planned COVID-19 vaccinations in Westport postponed next week
To allow staff time to support the health team in the recovery from the floods, all COVID-19 vaccination clinics planned to take place in Westport this coming week (week commencing 19 July) have had to be cancelled. The team will be calling those affected to re-book them to the earliest available time.
Please treat all flood water as contaminated.
A Boil Water Notice remains in place for Westport, Carters Beach and surrounds.
Westport, Carters Beach and Punakaiki are also on Conserve Water Notices, so please keep your showers short and avoid flushing the toilet, doing washing and running the dishwasher to help relieve pressure on the wastewater system.
For the latest updates on drinking water, ‘like’ your local District Council’s Facebook page, or check the latest news on their website:
Flood clean up advice – from the Community & Public Health team
Below are some tips to help as you embark on the clean-up if your home or property was affected by the floods over the past few days.
Public health advice for those entering homes and buildings in flood-affected areas.
IF YOU EVACUATED YOUR HOME DUE TO FLOODING:
Before returning, ensure:
YOU SHOULD ONLY RETURN TO YOUR HOME WHEN CLEARANCE HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE ABOVE INSPECTORS, AND FROM CIVIL DEFENCE. DO NOT MOVE BACK INTO A DAMP HOME.
Check for structural damage
Has the house moved? – Look for buckled floors, new cracks in walls and door frames that are out of shape (doors may stick where they didn’t before, or be impossible to close). Remember to take photos to assist with your insurance claim.
Making your home habitable in the shortest possible time
In most cases it will take months, rather than weeks, to completely restore your home after it has been damaged by flood water. Draining, cleaning and drying out can, and should be done quickly.
First, make sure you use personal protective equipment such as waterproof gloves, gumboots and overalls/waterproofs if you have them. If mud has dried or there is mould on the walls, protect your lungs from microbes and mould by using an N95 mask/respirator. Then,
Repairs should be carried out only when checks have shown the structure of the house is dry enough. Redecorating should never be rushed. Wait until the house is fit to live in, and thoroughly dry.
Cleaning indoor areas that have been flooded
Textile-based materials (blankets, sheets, drapes, clothing, etc.) which can be boiled can be reused.
Any that cannot be boiled should be thoroughly washed with the use of disinfectant or professionally dry-cleaned, after first advising anyone handling them that they have been flood-damaged. Pillows, mattresses (whether of flock, kapok, inner sprung mattresses and foam rubber mattresses) as well as soft upholstered furnishings, should be discarded after reporting to your insurers.
Before carrying out the following, protect yourself by using gloves and avoid splashes to the face or eyes.
Page last updated: 18 July 2021
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