Saturday, November 27

Covid-19: the Coromandel community awaits the tests on the 12th

The Coromandel community is cautiously optimistic that it may have dodged a Covid-19 bullet, and widespread testing thus far reveals no sign of the virus.

The community barricade in Manaia south of the Coromandel municipality.

A community barricade in Manaia in Coromandel.
Photo: Coromandel Facebook / CFM

It is a case of so far, very good when it comes to Covid-19 in the small town, where the Devonport man whose positive test started this group when he visited his wife 10 days ago.

Umu Cafe is one of nine sights after that visit, but co-owner Josie Fraser said her entire staff had so far tested negative for the Covid-19 test on day five.

He said he was cautiously optimistic at this stage.

“Maybe it wasn’t a spreader, I don’t know, but somehow we could have escaped.”

But he said they weren’t safe yet and would wait for the results on the 12th to be sure.

Participation in trials in and around the city has been huge: Riana Manuel, executive director of Maori healthcare provider Te Korowai Hauora or Hauraki, estimated that nearly 60 percent of the local community had swabbed themselves.

“With each passing day, we all breathe a sigh of relief, but we are very aware that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will mark the twelve days of testing and we are really looking forward to seeing the result of that,” he said. .

The sewage tests also came back negative, but Manuel said that while that gave him some comfort, he did not rule out that the virus was in the community due to the large number of homes with septic tanks.

“The water supply only supplies the immediate municipality, and everyone who lives beyond that area uses septic tanks.

“Especially for those smaller communities like Manaia, Harataunga, Tuateawa, in Colville, Whangapoua and Kuaotunu, they all have septic systems.”

Local participation has been huge not only for testing, but also for vaccines: one of the testing centers has been converted into a one-stop shop and, after being swabbed, people are encouraged to cross the parking lot to a prick.

Waikato DHB, which covers the Coromandel area, recorded more than 3,700 vaccinations on Sunday.

And the people behind all those tests and smears haven’t gone unnoticed.

Manuel said that, in addition to the community cat Helen Clarke, who shows up day after day to keep them company, there were dance challenges on TikTok from the testers, good wishes from those being evaluated, and many donated kai.

Now the community wants to return the favor and local Coromandel woman Ursula Magdalena Walsh is organizing a little whip to collect money to buy coffee vouchers for frontline staff.

“As a nurse, I know how hard nurses work anyway … I think they’re doing an amazing job at a time like this, you know? Especially in a pandemic.

“I just wanted to show that we care and that we love them and appreciate what they are doing,” he said.

Hundreds of dollars have been donated so far; it’s a win-win for the hardest hit cafes that Umu owner Josie Fraser said needed a boost too.

“It’s definitely a scary time in business terms, we don’t know what the repercussions will be; we of course don’t know when we’re going to go down a notch and I think it would be really premature to go down too fast.”

The level 4 lockdown will remain in Coromandel, along with the rest of the country, except Auckland, until at least this Friday, when the situation will be reviewed.

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