Iwi urges testing and vaccination after Covid cases in Taranaki

12:38 pm on 3 December 2021

A Taranaki iwi leader is urging whānau to get tested and vaccinated in light of Covid-19 returning to the region.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa chair Liana Poutu.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa chairperson Liana Poutu is urging whānau to get tested and vaccinated. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Yesterday afternoon it was announced three cases of Covid-19 had been detected in Taranaki.

The adult and two children, all part of the same New Plymouth household, all have a known link to an existing case in Rotorua.

One of the children is enrolled at Devon Intermediate School and the other at Marfell Community School, and both schools are closed today.

Taranaki District Health Board says the three infected people are doing fine and are isolating at home.

There is just one location of interest so far listed: the Blagdon Hot Bread Shop on Thursday last week between 9am and 11am.

The Ministry of Health advises any visitors to the shop at that time to self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days, get a test if symptoms develop, and stay home until they receive a negative test result.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa chairperson Liana Poutu met online with iwi leaders and health officials this morning.

"I think the key for us in Ngāmotu right now is knowing where those locations of interest are and those locations will come out throughout the day."

Health provider Tui Ora has set up a pop-up drive-through testing centre at Marfell Community School.

Poutu said testing would begin at 10.30am and would continue until late if needed.

"We'll go as long as we need to whānau."

Tui Ora chief executive Hayden Wano said the arrival of the novel coronavirus was no surprise.

"We have been expecting this and we are ready. Our teams mobilised yesterday so that we could hit the ground running this morning to meet the surge in demand for testing and vaccination."

The Taranaki District Health Board testing site on Tukapa Street has also extended testing hours, and will run until 8pm. Tomorrow the site is testing from 8am until 4pm.

The testing site at Hāwera Hospital is also open from 9am to 3pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tui Ora enrolled clients can also get tested and vaccinated at the provider's site on Maratahu Street.

The Ministry of Health has encouraged anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested.

Poutu also encouraged anyone still unvaccinated to get immunised.

"Now it's more important than ever for whānau to get vaccinated. Covid is here so the message is don't wait to protect yourself, your whānau and your whakapapa.

"This latest outbreak in Taranaki has coincided with the implementation of the new traffic light system, which means that we can expect to see more movement of whānau around the country. We need our people to be vaccinated and if they are feeling ill we need to them to take a test."

In North Taranaki vaccination is available today at the TDHB centre in New Plymouth on Powderham Street and in Waitara at Te Whare ō Ngāti Rāhiri Nui Tonu on Queen St.

Devon Intermediate School, nearby West End School and Marfell Community School have closed today along with Te Kōpae Piripono early education centre, which shares the Marfell site.

On Thursday evening Devon Intermediate principal Jenny Gellen issued a notice that the school was aware of a Covid-19 case in "our community".

"While we are working through the list of contacts, we are closing the school for tomorrow 3 Friday December," the notice said.

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