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Covid-19 Coronavirus Delta Outbreak: Pop-up Testing Centers Launch, Several New Places of Interest

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The Department of Health tonight announced a new case of Covid in a person in the Bay of Plenty. Video / NZ Herald

Several new places of interest have been added in Katikati after one person tested positive in the community for Covid-19.

Thursday locations are Hammer Hardware from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Good Life Operations Store from 11:05 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., Waipuna Hospice Shop from 11:15 a.m. to 12:50 p.m., Katikati Antiques and Interiors from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and Muraltown Traders at 10:55 a.m. at 12:20 p.m.

The Bottle-O Katikati was visited on Friday from 7.15 p.m. to 8.45 p.m.

Katikati Antiques and Interiors owner Alice McNeil discovered her store was a place of interest just 10 minutes before she spoke to the Bay of Plenty Times.

Asked about her first reaction to the news, McNeil said the first word that came to her mind was “God.”

“I do not open and I am going on the road to take a test.”

McNeil, who has owned the store for 16 years, and his only staff member are going to be tested today.

Motorists arriving at a Katikati pop-up testing center this morning, after someone who arrived in the community tested positive for Covid-19.  Photo / Carmen Room
Motorists arriving at a Katikati pop-up testing center this morning, after someone who arrived in the community tested positive for Covid-19. Photo / Carmen Room

A Bottle-O Katikati staff member said they were doing a deep clean but declined to comment further.

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber said he was called around 6:20 p.m. yesterday and was made aware of the positive Covid-19 case.

“We are informed that this person owned the tracking application and used it religiously.”

He said great caution characterized the approach now and contextual testing centers were opening this morning.

Webber said he didn’t want to be a “rubber” and harass health officials over every detail of the case.

“I just need to know that they have it under control,” he told the Herald this morning.

He said local vaccination rates were not as high as he would like, but there were many reasons for this.

“There are pockets in our community where they cannot afford to drive for the vaccine.”

Webber said that work is underway to address this issue and that he is proud of the efforts of Hausa Maori health care providers to reach communities that are struggling to get vaccinated.

The person who tested positive lived in Pukekohe and was busy moving to a rural Alert Level 2 area north of Katikati, the health ministry said.

The test result was typical of those in the early or late stages of the infection and was further investigated yesterday.

Simon Bridges, MP for Tauranga, said he was concerning to see Covid-19 in the Bay of Plenty, but he acknowledged the ministry’s assessment of a low risk to public health.

Simon Bridges urged people to get vaccinated and said the government should urgently increase the capacity of local intensive care units.  Photo / Greg Bowker
Simon Bridges urged people to get vaccinated and said the government should urgently increase the capacity of local intensive care units. Photo / Greg Bowker

This morning, he urged people to get vaccinated and said the government should urgently increase the capacity of local intensive care units.

“Immunization and intensive care capacity are the keys to a strong and effective health response in the Bay of Plenty,” Bridges said on Facebook.

Te Manu Toroa was about to stamp people in a line of more than 15 cars in Katikati this morning.

Nurse Jessy Tamihana and mobile vaccine coordinator Chris Jacob had set up the station by 8.45am.

Jacob said eight nurses were at four stations. He said the nurses gathered on Saturday night at short notice and were helping the district health board.

He said anxiety can be high in the community and if someone is concerned or has symptoms, it is important to come in for a checkup.

The chief executive of Waipuna Hospice said the positive case went to his charity store, not the health department.

“I don’t want our patients or their families to panic,” said Richard Thurlow. “We have implemented our plans to deal with this.”

Thurlow said he discovered the positive case at around 7 p.m. yesterday and understood the person had received a “low cut-off” result.

The Katikati hospice store was closed and its reopening would be reconsidered after five days, Thurlow said.

“That’s really all we can do at the moment. It’s very sad.”

He thought the risk of transmission to the hospice was low. All staff followed protocols by wearing masks, cleaning the store daily, and encouraging all customers to use the QR codes provided.

“I think the person did everything they were supposed to do, I hope this is just one incident and we don’t see more cases in Katikati which is a tight-knit community.”

Nurse Jessy Tamihana and Te Manu Toroa Māngai Health Services Chris Jacob at a Katikati pop-up testing center this morning.  Photo / Carmen Room
Nurse Jessy Tamihana and Te Manu Toroa Māngai Health Services Chris Jacob at a Katikati pop-up testing center this morning. Photo / Carmen Room

Katikati Community Council member Kate Sutherland said residents will continue to support each other.

“People are pretty vigilant. Our elderly population [is] quite big and we tend to know each other in Katikati. So we all take care of each other. “

She was hopeful that no further positive cases emerged as she imagined a Level 3 lockdown would come into effect.

“I guess the right thing to do is just test and get your jab.”

Chrome Cafe owner Trudy Robinson urged her staff to get tested after it was discovered that a cafe employee was at a place of interest.

Robinson had opened the cafe today for business as usual, but said it was very quiet.

“I think people are scared now that it’s so close to home,” she said.

Vaccination, screening clinics are created

The Department of Health said an immunization clinic at Katikati RSA and the Citizens Club at the corner of Henry and Main Roads will open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. No reservation was necessary.

The test sites in Katikati would be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. These included the Katikati Medical Center and an additional site in the halls of the Katikati Rugby Club.

Health officials said the Katikati Rugby Clubrooms site will extend its opening hours if necessary. The tests are free.

The person who tested positive was allowed to cross the border and was vaccinated and tested regularly.

The person’s family has used the tracking app and their family has been tested and isolated, the health ministry said.

Another testing center was opened today at Tauranga Accident and HealthCare on 19 Second Avenue until 6 p.m., the Bay of Plenty District Health Board said.

Be realistic about the borders, experts recommend

Public health expert Professor Nick Wilson said yesterday the country was paying for a “loose border” around Auckland, and Cabinet must prioritize tighter regional border controls.

He said an appropriate border should be drawn around parts of Waikato, which joined Auckland at Level 3 a week ago when two cases were discovered.

Wilson said keeping Covid-19 off the South Island was even more obvious.

He suggested the government look into Tasmania, which had not had a community case for more than 500 days.

“It’s crazy that we aren’t trying to protect the South Island.”


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