Covid 19 coronavirus: ‘Your mask isn’t for your chin’ – South Auckland health worker hits out at level 3 complacency

A manager at a South Auckland Covid-19 testing site is angry at the blatant disregard for level 3 restrictions.

“People who work in healthcare are the ones that are doing this right, and everybody else is just going ‘oh yea, whatever’.”

Counties Medical business manager Karen French said it was extremely frustrating for frontline workers to see people flouting the rules.

“Are we just rebelling, are we just complacent, or do we just not understand?

“I drove past a petrol station forecourt and there’s three people; together, not 2 metres apart, no masks on, chatting. The roads are busy, and traffic along Great South Rd is only slightly less than normal.”

The Takanini medical centre has converted their urgent care site to a nurse-led swabbing station, taking up to 350 samples each day and redirecting other patients to their Papakura branch.

She said this lockdown feels different from last year, but people needed to stay vigilant.

“There’s just a feeling that people are over it, there’s definitely a complacency. There were people at the supermarket yesterday without masks on, and even some of the staff working on the floor.

French said the virus was not a joke, or something to complain about.

“The Government aren’t doing this just for a laugh … you see the news from overseas, that will be us if we don’t do what we’re being asked to do – and it’s not hard.”

The Takanini testing station is operating from 8am-6pm, and French said the majority of people in the queue are respectful, but there’s always the ones that make the job difficult for staff.

“They don’t want to be swabbing in 29 degrees with full PPE on, it is really hard work.
And so to get somebody that abuses them or swears at them that’s like ‘really?’

“It’s just impatience. Everybody’s case is more important than somebody else’s. I appreciate you don’t really want to sit here for two hours, but if you’ve been asked to get the swab, you need to get the swab.”

French encourages her staff to be professional, but assertive with educating people they interact with.

“The number of times at the clinic I have to say to people ‘your mask isn’t for your chin, it’s to be worn over your mouth and nose’.

“Every time they’re talking to someone in that car, they’re saying ‘this is the right thing to do, go home and stay home until lockdown’s finished if you’re not an essential worker …”

She said her staff are still tired from last year, and the public can do their bit to make sure the risks are lower, especially with more infectious strains.

“We don’t need to crow about this, this is our job … Nobody wants Covid to come, but we knew that this would likely come again and we needed to be prepared going into winter.”

French said education is key for understanding why the restrictions are in place.

“Come on Auckland – do the right thing here – spread the word, not the virus.”


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