Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Thames more of a concern than Covid hotspot Kaiaua, district mayors say

While thousands of Waikato and Hauraki residents remain housebound due to several Covid cases in the area, it’s those living just down the road that have local leaders concerned.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday used his powers under Section 70 of the Health Act to order residents within a “bespoke” boundary around Kaiaua, Maramarua, Mangatawhiri and Whakatiwai to remain and home self-isolating until Friday.

Around 400 locals were tested for Covid-19 at a pop-up testing centre at Whakatiwai Marae.

The enforcement comes after a Black Power gang member became Covid-positive after being released from Auckland’s Mt Eden remand prison on electronically monitored bail to his home which he shared with eight others north of Kaiaua on the Hauraki Plains.

Two children at the home have since tested positive, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed a third household member had tested positive today after the Waikato DHB processed 916 tests overnight.

While the new boundary covers a large land mass, about half of it includes the Hunua Ranges with the rest split roughly 50-50 between Hauraki and Waikato districts.

Waikato mayor Allan Sanson estimates there would be about 2000 residents affected in total.

He was pleased a lot of Waikato residents managed to avoid the short lockdown but said the wider Waikato region was not out of danger yet.

“I think we’re not out of the woods, if I’m being really honest with you.

“I’m just worried around the time when the child was asymptomatic versus when it was found out, which is a period of three days and how many people could this have been passed on to?

“I’ll hold my breath and hope that there is no more infections but I’d say it’s 50-50 at this stage.”

He said the danger wasn’t so much from domestic tourists travelling to the district, more locals making their daily trips to nearby Thames; visiting supermarkets and other shops.

“I wouldn’t be as concerned about the people coming in as I would be about the number of people that went out.

“A lot of these people do gravitate to places like Ngatea or Thames, on a daily basis.

“That’s what worries me … I’m hoping like hell it doesn’t, but we just don’t know.”

He said Waitakaruru and Miranda dodged a bullet from being inside the boundary thanks to police wanting to avoid having to set up a further checkpoint.

Instead, the border being around Mangatawhiri follows SH2 along the southern end up until it reaches Steen Rd, opposite Smythes Quarries.

From there it heads north, taking a cross-country route along the territorial boundary before coming out at the intersection of Miranda and East Coast Rd.

“I originally said to continue on to SH2 and SH25 and then go through to Waitakaruru but that was more resource-hungry for the police than doing this, so we opted for this [route] which covered territorial boundary lines.”

Sanson, who played a part in creating the “bespoke” boundary, said he was pleased that the bespoke boundary was tighter, and didn’t affect the wider region.

He added that he’d heard feedback from some locals that because they had received both of their vaccinations, that they didn’t need to get a Covid test.

But that wasn’t the case.

“I just think, regardless of whether you’re vaccinated or not, you should get tested if you are within this cordon. It puts yourself at ease and puts everyone else in the community at ease.

“Despite whether you’re vaccinated or not you can still catch [Covid] but it just lessens the intensity.”

The Miranda Holiday Park has been one business that’s managed to avoid a total shutdown this week, after questioning the exact boundary with police this morning.

Staffer Sue Price said they were ecstatic that they were outside the Section 70 order, and they all let out a big “woohoo” upon hearing the news.

“We got confirmation from local police this morning that we’re out of the cut-off this morning, so yes. Now we’re phoning people back again. It’s all systems go.”

After spending yesterday cancelling their bookings for this week, Price was busy getting back in touch with them to let them know it was all go.

**** UPDATE ****WE ARE OPEN!!Sorry for so much confusion, trying to work out where are we and what is going on. But…

Hauraki mayor Toby Adams said there had been a bit of confusion about where the exact boundary was among locals.

“It’s very confusing, and this blasted Government doesn’t tell us. They’ve got it worked out and they just give us the base map that everyone else has, and it makes it hard.”

He said he had staff from his electrical business working in Kaiaua, who lived in Paeroa and Thames.

“I know that most of them go to Thames for their shopping. We’ve been bloody lucky that no one else has got it. They’ve travelled around other places, you can’t get all your needs in Kaiaua – fish and chips, a beer and maybe some toilet paper.”

However, the reach of those who frequent the area were all around Hauraki, including Paeroa and Ngatea.

Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie was frustrated by the whole incident and said regardless of who it was who tested positive, the Government had “mucked up big time” as the gang member had gone from a level 4 area into level 2 without the appropriate testing.

She said the peninsula was lucky to avoid a large break-out after the recent incident in Coromandel town, however said they did have a high vaccination rate.

“I’m tired of speculation, I just want people to hunker down, do what we’re told, if we can get through it fine, if we can’t, we’re just going to have to deal with it.”

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