Covid-19 pop up testing stations in the Bay of Plenty are suffering from ongoing vandalism and theft, with the latest tagging appearing at The Doctors Bayfair Medical Centre.
Continuing since the start of the pandemic, Green Cross Health regional clinical business manager Wendy Dillon says the latest defacing is about the fourth occasion it has happened.
“The tent at Bayfair has been vandalised multiple times,” says Wendy.
“We’ve also had an entire cabin stolen in Welcome Bay, which they put wheels and a towbar on it and dragged it away at about 3am.”
Wendy says that the cost to repair damages and remove tagging comes out of their own pocket. “We have to pay to have the tag removed.
“We have hired cabins and tents to provide protection for staff and patients during the pandemic. It is soul destroying to see this senseless vandalism.”
According to Wendy, the total losses are mounting up to nearly $30,000.
“I just want to highlight that in a really draining time for general practice, acts like these are cutting deep.”
With the surge of Covid-19 in the community, nurses and general practitioners are working tirelessly to help those who are testing for or have caught Covid-19.
Wendy is asking anyone who sees any signs of vandalism occurring to report it straight away.
“Most of the vandalism does occur at the Bayfair location. It’s even hard on Tauranga Party Hire; things like this affect them as a business.”
Tauranga Party Hire co-owner Nathan Dolman says the ongoing vandalism has been frustrating.
“More than anything it is so frustrating that it keeps happening repeatedly. There’s a cost to clean it up every time it happens,” says Nathan.
“We had one about six months ago where they tagged the whole marquee, it cost a lot to get that cleaned.”
“Times are tough for a lot of us already, and obviously we would prefer not to have that cost.”
Nathan says he has had to send people to clean the graffiti about four times since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ve also had the swabbing tents at the Mount Maunganui Sports Centre targeted as well as the Bayfair location.”
Wendy encourages the community to be aware that this is a challenging time for the medical profession – and doctors and nurses are trying their best to look after their patients.
“We are trying to get to all of our patients at the moment. If we’re not quite answering the phone at this time it is because we have so many calls to make. Tolerance at this time is everything,” says Wendy.