Saturday, November 27

Waikato Clinics See Vaccine Stocks Rise As Cases Rise

Waikato is accelerating its Covid-19 response with the revelation that a person who later tested positive for the virus spent the night in Tokoroa.

Vaccination center sign

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Over the long weekend, the region reported two new cases in Ōtorohanga, nine in Te Awamutu and three in Hamilton.

South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services CEO Akarere Henry said the news that his city had had a brush with Covid was not welcome, but not unexpected.

“It seemed to reach Karapiro, then go east towards Kihikihi and Te Awamutu and now it’s gone to Ōtorohanga and we almost felt like we were our own island bubble in the middle, but that would have been too naive.”

South Waikato District Councilor Arama Ngāpō agreed saying they always knew it was a possibility.

“Because Tokoroa is on State Highway One, we need to be more vigilant. Knowing that someone spent the night in Tokoroa didn’t really add to that fear because it’s something our community was aware of.”

University of Otago public health professor Michael Baker said the spread from Waikato was concerning, particularly given the ease with which the case that passed through Tokoroa ended up on the South Island.

“The outbreak is spreading. Only to a limited degree at the moment, but it is probably spreading more than we can see in known cases.

“Of particular concern are the continuing cases in Waikato and, in particular, the unrelated cases there.”

However, in a boon to the region’s vaccination rate, the new cases over the weekend appeared to be a boost for some, and Dr. Helen Fisher of Te Kuiti Medical Center saw three times as many walk-ins for shots yesterday.

“We were expecting around 25 and we’ve had between 65 and 70 through the door.”

She hoped that number would be even higher today, and that people might not realize that the center was open on a holiday.

Te Kuiti was also trying to get enough staff to implement mobile clinics to access more people living in rural areas, something that Waipa Deputy Mayor Liz Stolwyk said would now be a focus for the region.

“What we’re really trying to do is catch those farmers. So what we’re finding is that the farmers have been in the shed … they’re giving birth, obviously, they’ve been in the shed with, at this time of year, a lot of AB [artificial breeding] so now I think they can take a little breather and hopefully get into one of the vaccination centers around it. “

Waipa’s main hub, Te Awamutu, has had a few cases over the past week, but said the city had been taking level three restrictions seriously and hoped potential bubble breakers would not be tempted over the weekend. long.

“To be honest, the weather wasn’t very good here, so I think it was probably a good thing … we weren’t very envious of people with access to the beach.

“At the moment, people are staying at their base of operations.”

Back in Tokoroa, this morning a pop-up test site would open at 11 a.m. near gate four in the Tokoroa Hospital parking lot.

Established in part by South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services, local GPs, and the Waikato DHB, Akarere Henry said that if anyone felt uncomfortable or unsafe given the news of Covid-19 between them, it should be done. a test and chat.

He said that Covid vaccine stocks for today were already in higher numbers than usual, and he hoped that an increase in the rate of vaccines would be the silver lining of this local scare.

The total number of Waikato cases during this outbreak was 87, six unrelated cases remained under investigation.

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