Waipa mayor wants return to normalcy after Te Awamutu Covid cases

Source: 1News

Waipa mayor Jim Mylchreest is calling for a return to normalcy as soon as possible after two new Covid-19 community cases were announced in the Waikato on Sunday - one in Te Awamutu and the other in Hamilton.

It brings the total number of cases in the region to 83.

Of that number, 16 have fully recovered. However, the emergence of even a single new case is fueling concerns in Te Awamutu.

“People are really frustrated that their businesses are being severely restricted and compromised by the lockdowns,” he said.

While the playground and main street were left empty on Sunday, the rapid rise in cases this week has led to a steady stream of arrivals at the pop-up testing station.

Others are anxious that Covid cases are increasing in spite of the ongoing Level 3 lockdown restrictions, which was extended for a further six days last Thursday.

“I think that's a good thing that people are concerned because it means people are getting tested,” nurse Dayna Hollings said.

The Ministry of Health confirmed 21 positive Covid-19 cases across the Waikato are isolating at home as of Sunday morning, some of whom are awaiting their transfer to a quarantine facility.

University of Otago epidemiologist Dr Michael Baker said while widespread wastewater and community testing suggests Covid-19 transmission is “all very localised” but “that situation could change quite quickly”.

The latest health information shows the current outbreak appears to stem from spread taking place in “private settings”, and that all but seven cases across the Waikato are linked.

Mylchreest says locals should know who is breaking lockdown restrictions.

“The main concern from people is that they really want to know where the infection is so that they can avoid it and take whatever steps necessary to protect themselves.”

Meanwhile, the demand for vaccination is skyrocketing at a local chemist.

“Huge amount of walk-ins. People are turning up, they want their vaccination right now. Even today, we're not usually vaccinating on a Sunday and we’ve had a significant number of people just arrived wanting vaccinations today so we've gone ahead and done that,” chemist Gemma Waterhouse-Perry said.

Meanwhile, around 300 people per day have been turning up for tests at the testing station in the past week, but staff would like to see more.

They say 400 tests a day would provide a clearer indication of any community spread in the area.