Whakatīwai community 'worried' over Covid-19 cases

Source: 1News

The rural Waikato community plunged into a Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown is banding together to support each other. 

It comes after three people in the Whakatīwai area of the Hauraki District tested positive for Covid-19 after an infected prisoner was remanded there on bail. 

The cases have prompted health officials to urge locals who live or work in the area to isolate at home to spot further coronavirus spread.

On Monday, a testing station was set up at the Wharekawa Marae, with a significant turnout that day.

Marae Chair Tipa Compain told Breakfast that in the space of 24 hours, 477 people were swabbed for Covid-19. 

"Very busy. Lots of people came through the marae in terms of the access that we provided for the community - 477 tests apparently were done." 

They've now extended their efforts to get the community vaccinated, setting up local pop-up vaccination centres at the EcoQuest Education Centre across the road from the marae and at the local Maramarua Rugby Football Club. 

"It's not just about Ngāti Pāoa and Ngāti Whanaunga along the coastline, but also about all the rest of the community and how we can work together to get tested but more importantly, get vaccinated."

Compain added the community were feeling "worried", particularly for those most vulnerable and at-risk to the virus. 

People get tested for Covid-19 at a pop-up testing station at Wharekawa Marae, north Waikato.

"They're concerned and worried; worried about their children, their tamariki, particularly with the outbreak being connected to the local schools. 

"They're worried about our old people, our kaumātua, in the community and just concerned about how this did actually happen." 

He added that the marae and other support services on the ground could respond quickly due to having done so in Coromandel nearby at the beginning of the Delta outbreak.