Thursday, December 9

Waikato Community Eagerly Awaits Covid-19 Test Results After Pretrial Inmate Crosses Auckland Border


A small Waikato community is eagerly waiting for hundreds of Covid-19 test results to return today.

A steady stream of people has been passing through a testing facility near Kaiaua on the Firth of Thames following the discovery of three Covid-19 cases in the area, outside the level 4 boundary.

A steady stream of people passed a test center near Kaiaua on the Firth of Thames yesterday.
Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

More than half of the people living in and around Mangatangi and Whakatīwai showed up at a local marae yesterday to get swabs.

The area is now in a five-day lockdown after three members of a local family tested positive for the new coronavirus – they contracted the virus from an Auckland remand prisoner who had been sent home on bail.

He was infected by one of the people who brought him to the property.

The Maori health service Te Korowai Hauora or Hauraki is running a pop-up testing center in a local marae for the entire week.

Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki CEO Riana Manuel said about 500 people showed up on Monday.

“The really good part for me is that there are about 780 people in that community, so with those kinds of swabs we can trust that we have sampled a good part of the population, about 60 percent,” Manuel said.

Two of the positive cases in the community are children who attend Mangatangi school.

Many students came with their family to get tested.

“Everyone is a little anxious. I think our poor children are especially anxious to get a swab, but they were so good that they all showed up with their families,” Manuel said.

“And now we await the results.”

The Health Ministry said it would publish the number of community cases in its 1pm update, unless there are “significant developments.”

The blockade covers an area north of State Highway 2 around Mangatangi, which runs up the coast through Kaiaua to Wharekawa.

A map of the northern Hauraki area covered by the

A map of the northern Hauraki area covered by the “bespoke” lock, to the left of the main Auckland boundary and outlined in blue.
Photo: Supplied / Ministry of Health

Chief Health Officer Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said anyone who has lived, worked or visited the area since Sept. 8 should now stay home and monitor symptoms.

Kaiaua school principal Karlos Bosson had already decided on Sunday night that his 27 students would have to stay home due to their contact with two of the infected children.

“Some of my students do interact a bit with those kids, so I can’t guarantee they haven’t interacted or played together since Wednesday, Thursday through the weekend as well. That’s why we made that call to close school. “

The staff and teachers have been working hard to make and deliver learning packets to students, he said.

“Tonight we were frantically preparing hard packages to ship and deliver because several of our students do not have access to the internet or a device, which is proving to be a great challenge for their distance learning.”

The limit of the encierro as it passes through Miranda, excluding the hot springs.

Manuel said it was a sensible line to draw.

“We know our community very well and I know all those areas. It’s great, a good idea, a great plan because I was a little worried that it might seem harsh elsewhere.”

Wharekawa Marae Reservation Trust President Tipa Compain said the marae jumped into action to support the emerging testing center and encourage the community to take samples.

The marae had supports for those who had a difficult time returning to alert level 4 restrictions, Compain said.

“Many of our whānau work in Pukekohe or cross the River Thames and have various occupations, so this event will have an impact on our families and the community at large.”

There were urupā up and down the coast that stood as reminders of the influenza pandemic in 1918, Compain said.

It was a stark reminder for those in the rural community, who would dare to get vaccinated this week.

“This is not new to us in our memories of our history that have taught us about the impact of a virus that could affect us.”

A mobile vaccination clinic run by Waikato DHB will operate at Ecoquest, across the road from Wharekawa Marae.


www.rnz.co.nz

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