8 Dec 2021

Gisborne Mayor urges locals get tested after wastewater result

From Checkpoint, 5:26 pm on 8 December 2021

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz is concerned about three waste water samples that came back positive for Covid-19, despite no known cases there.

Tairāwhiti's most recent sample was taken on 6 December, and the result announced today, with two earlier detections of the virus in waste water on 1 and 2 December. Two more samples will be taken this week.

Stoltz is appealing for anyone in the district with flu symptoms to get tested.

"We do have a pop-up drive-through testing station that is going everyday," she told Checkpoint

"So in order for us to determine is it someone that might've been in MIQ and has passed through, or is it now circulating in our community ... we need to get these tests up."

Health authorities are not aware of any recovered cases in Gisborne so believe the waste water result strongly indicates an undetected Covid-19 infection in the community.

The test results came from the waste water plant, but health officials are talking to the council to see if they can start taking samples from neighbourhood pump stations. 

Stoltz said there are about eight neighbourhood pump stations. 

"We have asked the government to do daily [waste water] testing, so that we can just be assured is it in our community or is someone who has moved by," she said.

"Our health teams have been working so hard to make sure there is support for whānau that will have to isolate at home, and then also, please come on out and get your vax."

She said there may be several reasons why people did not want to get tested, including only having mild symptoms or fear of coming under scrutiny.

"We're urging everyone ... we are not interested in anything but to know if you are positive or not… so we're asking our whānau please come forward. It's a safe space. 

"The reason we're doing this is so we can wrap support around families that might need to stay home and make sure that if there is transmission that we stop it right there and do contact tracing."

Testing is available this week at the drive-through at 110 Peel Street:
•    Thursday 9 December (9am-12pm)
•    Friday 10 December (9am-12pm)