23 Oct 2021

Covid-19: Four positive cases confirmed in Northland

1:23 pm on 23 October 2021

Two more community cases of Covid-19 - both children under 12 years of age and related to the two cases reported yesterday - have been confirmed in Northland.

Vaccination Centre Sign

Photo: RNZ // Angus Dreaver

Two new cases were reported in the region after they tested positive in Kaikohe yesterday and are isolating near the town.

In a statement today, the Northland DHB said two further cases are children under 12.

"All four cases are related to each other.

"Support has been put in place for the whanau, who have worked cooperatively with the Public Health team to identify locations of interest."

The new cases are not connected to the earlier two cases who visited from Auckland.

The Health Ministry said a case investigation had identified a "limited number" of close contacts.

"So far, all results from close contacts have returned negative test results, with a small number of outstanding results expected later today."

Additional testing in the area is being arranged, said the Ministry.

"We are aware that the Parua Bay Tavern in Whangârei Heads has chosen to close while some of their staff self-isolate, due to one member having contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case outside of work. Everyone associated with the Parua Bay Tavern, who was self- isolating, has tested negative for Covid-19.

"Parua Bay Tavern is not considered a location of interest. The Parua Bay Tavern is planning to re-open tomorrow."

Northland DHB Incident Controller Sarah Hoyle said that having active cases in the region is an important reminder for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible.

"It is also important that anyone who has been at a location of interest, or who has cold and flu symptoms, gets a test."

Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi chief operating officer Tia Ashby said the best thing people can do is get vaccinated.

She said her organisation is working to get people vaccinated as soon as possible and it could be devastating if the virus has spread in the community.

"Because it's you know these cases where they've been, you know where they've travelled is in the most vulnerable communities, for example Kaitāia, Kaikohe we've got a high percentage of Māori that are unvaccinated."

Just 60 percent of people in Kaikohe have had one Pfizer dose, and 41 percent have had two.

By midday on Saturday, the Ministry of Health had added a number of locations of interest in Northland.

People who had been at these places at the specified times were asked to monitor themselves for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days after the exposure. Anyone who develops symptoms, needs to get a test and stay home until they receive a negative result and until 24 hours after the symptoms disappear.

  • Hunting and Fishing Kaitāia at 11 North Park Drive Kaitāia on 20 October between 11-11.30am.
  • Four Square Opononi, 29 Hokianga Harbour Drive in Kaikohe on 21 October from 3.30pm-3.45pm.
  • Countdown Kaikohe at 37 Station Road on 19 October, Kaikohe between 4.15pm-5.30pm.
  • Mobile Kaikohe at 19 Broadway, Kaikohe on 19 October between 5.15pm-5.45pm.
  • GAS Kaihu at 2906 State Highway 12, Dargaville on 17 October from 4.15pm-4.30pm.

Meanwhile, Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association says it has been hearing widespread concern that Covid-19 vaccine mandates will drive out irreplaceable staff.

Its president, Pat Newman, said six Northland schools have reported problems with vaccine-hesitant colleagues to the association, but he suspects the true scale of the problem is much greater.

He has also encountered vaccine hesitancy among staff at his own school, Hora Hora Primary in Whangārei.

Newman said it is hard enough to get qualified, culturally competent teachers in Northland, and he does not know how schools will cope when the new rules mandating Covid-19 vaccine kick in.

"I do not believe that the Ministry of Health has any idea how schools, particularly in isolated communities function and I don't think they actually really want to."

Under the mandate, education workers must have their first dose by 15 November.

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