19 Aug 2021

Covid-19: Anxious wait for older Coromandel residents

8:02 am on 19 August 2021

Older people in the Coromandel region are nervously waiting to see whether Covid-19 cases pop up in the area.

The community roadblock at Manaia south of Coromandel township.

A community roadblock at Manaia, south of Coromandel township. Photo: Facebook / Coromandel's CFM

Rest homes are shut for visits and local leaders are urging people to check in on their neighbours after a positive case visited the area over the weekend.

Age Concern Hauraki-Coromandel manager Glenis Bell thought older people were worried about how far and where the virus may have spread.

"There's a lot of discussion going around our networks, as to whether it's just Coromandel township or is it the whole Coromanel Peninsula? Is Pauanui and Whitianga part of that? There's all of that confusion at this stage as to what areas are impacted," she said.

The district's mayor, Sandra Goudie, was under fire for admitting she had not been scanning in using the Covid-19 tracer app.

Bell was noticing Mayor Goudie was not the only one.

"I have definitely noticed a lot of complacency."

But Bell thought some older people simply were not equipped or had the tech know-how to scan in.

"It's quite common for us to come across people saying they can't do the cellphone stuff or haven't got a cellphone. The people we connect with often don't have cellphones," she said.

People who did not have a cellphone were encouraged to use the pen and paper sign in sheets.

Coromandel-Colville community board chair Peter Pritchard urged people to keep their older neighbours in the loop on the latest news and developments.

"They may not have the same access as everyone else to social media and the internet. Do check in with the elderly, ring kaumātua and advise them of locations and times - lets get this message out there."

There are pop-up testing centres in Coromandel Town and Thames, along with a second clinic in central Hamilton.

Bell was worried older people would have a tricky time getting to a testing station, as many could not drive.

"I'm sure people would get tested if they needed to, its just how they get there will be their biggest challenge."

While its unclear how long the stay-at-home order will be in place, she thought people would be happy to sit tight for now.

"At the moment, I think everyone's just happy to hunker down, stay at home and keep connected."

New Zealand Aged Care Association chief executive Simon Wallace said rest homes around the country are on high alert - with staff decked out in full PPE and all rest homes closed to visits.

"We will facilitate visits in the case of end-of-life or where a resident is in palliative care, but those visits will be conducted in full PPE."

Wallace said vaccination rates among aged care workers are very high.


This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.

All of New Zealand is now at Covid-19 alert level 4.

The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland & Coromandel Peninsula which is likely to remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.

A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.

Stay at home where possible & follow the Alert Level 4 guidelines. This will stop the spread of COVID-19 and SAVE LIVES.

Everyone is asked to:

Wear a mask and keep a 2 metre distance from others whenever you leave your home.

If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice about getting tested.

Keep on scanning QR codes whenever you leave your home.

Practice good hygiene - wash hands often.

Services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics & petrol stations will stay open at Alert Level 4. Face coverings are mandatory for all people - both employees and customers - at businesses and services operating at Alert Level 4 involving customer contact.

For more information on Alert Level 4 go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]


RNZ is the statutory Lifeline Utility responsible for radio broadcasting under the Emergency Management Act 2002 and it has a memorandum of understanding with Government which has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic. RNZ's Lifeline Utility obligations do not affect our editorial independence as a public media organisation or the rigour of our news gathering and reporting operations.

As New Zealand's Lifeline Utility radio broadcaster, RNZ is required to maintain essential public information channels and news during times of national emergency and we are committed to supporting all New Zealanders.

We are also committed to looking after the health and well-being of our staff.

RNZ will continue to provide essential information services - broadcasting and publishing critical public service announcements on air, on our website and via social media channels. Comprehensive news will be available on air and via our website and digital services.

If necessary RNZ Concert and RNZ Pacific will carry news and information from RNZ National. Parliament will continue to be broadcast on the AM network when the House is sitting. As the country's public service media organisation, RNZ is committed to supporting all New Zealanders.

Kia Kaha - Stay Strong

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs