Thursday, December 9

Northland frustrated that Covid-19 case avoids authorities


Northlanders are growing increasingly frustrated as they try to decipher the movements of a Covid-positive Auckland woman who visited the rohe.

A Whangārei motel has been added to Tai Tokerau locations of interest today, but details of the woman’s trip remain scarce as she refuses to cooperate with authorities.

Intensified testing has found no traces of the virus, but health leaders say the North is not yet safe.

Te Hauora or Ngāpuhi CEO Te Ropu Poa said that any positive cases will likely emerge within the next 48 hours.

“In the next few days we will find out to what extent Covid is in Northland, and then you will see the difference in the communities and how they come together to take care of each other.”

A sign for Covid-19 testing at Kawakawa.

A sign for Covid-19 testing at Kawakawa.
Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Percentage

He said that without the locations of interest being made public, people relied on their own trusted networks to stay safe.

“When there are delays in continuous inquiries to obtain information, our whānau begins to develop his own kumara vid and connects the dots, or connects the communications, who knows what.”

Delta’s arrival in Kawakawa has not been well received by the locals, but the refusal of the person who may have brought him to share his movements is making things even more frustrating.

Thomas Joyce and Patricia Simeon at Joyce Quality Meats in Kawakawa.

Thomas Joyce and Patricia Simeon at Joyce Quality Meats in Kawakawa.
Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Percentage

Patricia Simeon, co-owner of Joyce Quality Meats in Whangarei, said the woman was being selfish by not sharing her locations and that of the woman she was traveling with.

“Admit, I know they are going to take a lot of slack from the community, like a lot of slack … if they are well known or people know them, but it’s just thinking about the people who are here, our vulnerable people, our kaumatua and kuia.” , said.

Kahu Mahanga, a local from Kawakawa, agreed, saying that one person had spoiled the hard work of many.

Kawakawa local Kahu Mahanga.

Kawakawa local Kahu Mahanga.
Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Percentage

“We abide by the rules, it’s only when these outsiders think they can show up with these fake documents, it just puts us all at risk,” he said.

Together with Kawakawa, the woman visited Paihia, Kamo, and Whangārei, including two gas stations, two hotels, and a dairy in Onerahi.

Police rely heavily on CCTV footage to track exhibition sites, but the dairy’s owner, Rakesh Chauhan, said his camera could not be used because it was erased when the police contacted them.

A woman who traveled north with the case was located in west Auckland on Monday night; is among the 21 close contacts that have been linked so far.

The Ministry of Health has not confirmed the location of those contacts.

Far North District Councilor Kelly Stratford said rumors were flourishing rather than official information, and it appeared that someone’s privacy rights were taking precedence over the community’s right to feel safe.

Kelly Stratford, a councilman for the Far North district in Kawakawa.

Kelly Stratford, a councilman for the Far North district in Kawakawa.
Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Percentage

But he said everyone had a role to play in staying safe, which involved getting tested, isolating and getting vaccinated.

Vaccines increased over the weekend and yesterday 738 tests were carried out throughout the territory, almost 3,000 tests in the last four days.

Ngāti Hine Health Trust Lead Clinical Nurse Angee Hobson said there were about 50 people through the Kawakawa testing center in the first hours it was open today.

He said that some of them were people who might have suspected they were linked to the case.

“It doesn’t really matter, as long as they know they are making the right decision for themselves and their families, that’s all we need to know.”

Tai Tokerau Border Control was also active in Kawakawa today, stopping vehicles with police assistance and providing information to motorists on the Covid situation.

Nyze Manuel, Communications and Logistics Manager for Tai Tokerau Border Control in Kawakawa.

Nyze Manuel, Communications and Logistics Manager for Tai Tokerau Border Control in Kawakawa.
Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Percentage

The group’s communications and logistics manager, Nyze Manuel, said she encouraged the positive Covid case to come forward to protect the community, and it was not about naming or shaming her.

“We’re just trying to figure out where you’ve been so our people are safe, because if we don’t know where you’ve been and you have Covid, then there’s a high possibility that we have clusters all over the place.

The Covid case has brought with it an increase in vaccines: 459 first doses and 630 second doses were administered yesterday, totaling 1,089 doses throughout Northland.

To date, 188,382 doses have been administered in Northland, comprising 110,446 first doses and 77,936 second doses.


www.rnz.co.nz

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