Strong testing turnout in northern Waikato after Covid cases detected

Source: 1News

There's been a strong turn out at a testing station in rural northern Waikato after a person with Covid-19 in the area saw the Ministry of Health urge locals to get tested. 

Shania Dod collects a sample at a United Memorial Medical Centre Covid-19 testing site.

As at 11am on Monday, 150 swabs had been collected in the Kaiaua/Whakatīwai areas with three people testing positive for the virus on Sunday.

These new cases in Whakatīwai are being included as part of Auckland's total case count, as they fall under Counties Manukau DHB. 

The Ministry of Health has also begun wastewater testing from Cambridge, Ngatea and Paeroa in order to gauge whether the outbreak is spreading through Waikato. 

Those results are expected later this week. 

The three new cases on Sunday are part of one Whakatīwai family who tested positive on Sunday night, all household contacts of a Mt Eden prisoner who tested positive earlier that day.

Members of the small rural community have been told to self-isolate and get tested for Covid-19 as health officials rush to clamp down on any potential chains of transmission. 

The prisoner had been remanded on bail to the Whakatīwai address on September 8. 

On September 16, the person appeared at court in Auckland and was taken to Mt Eden prison, it was during that transfer while following prison protocols that the prisoner was tested for the virus. 

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson told Breakfast on Monday that he was frustrated the prisoner was allowed to cross the Auckland boundary into Waikato which in is Level 2. 

"No one else can move freely across the border unless tested and are an essential worker," he said. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce Cabinet's decision on Auckland's alert level change at 4pm on Monday. 

This decision will be streamed live to TVNZ1 as well as on the 1News website and Facebook page.