Waikato Hospital ICU nurse positive for Covid-19

Source: 1News

An ICU nurse at Waikato Hospital has tested positive for Covid-19 as the region shifted to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday.

Waikato Hospital.

Two colleagues and a patient are now isolating and being tested, a DHB spokesperson told 1News.

The spokesperson said the nurse tested positive on Monday, November 15 and immediately stood down from duties.

The news comes as the region moved to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday after six weeks in Alert Level 3.

However, there was concern that the region was still seeing active cases after five cases were announced on Wednesday, including two in the small township of Ōtorohanga.

There were nine cases in the town on Tuesday.

"We did question whether Level 2 is the right position to be in with so many active cases," Ōtorohanga mayor Max Baxter said.

"Keeping in mind, we've got a lot of businesses that have been absolutely struggling as a consequence of lockdown, and it is imperative that they get this chance to open now before Christmas and get at least a few trading days in before it dies down over January."

Maree Munro, who leads the Waikato DHB's Covid-19 Testing and Vaccination programme, told 1News she would not be surprised if there were more cases due to the new freedoms.

"I think it is natural," she said.

"We've seen it happen in Auckland and we will expect that to happen and if we can contain it using the methods we've had to date then that is fantastic. We'll just have to be ready and able to respond."

Munro said that was something the DHB was prepared for.

“I think the Waikato's in a really good place with its vaccination rates - it's coming up there.”

She said the uptake is “probably not as fast as we'd like for our Māori population”, however, adding that they are “behind from a total population perspective”.

"We are that first line down from Auckland so if we see the borders open, we're going to see a lot of people coming through… You just don't know where they're going to go so our first line of defence is vaccinations."

Meanwhile, businesses in the Waikato which were closed under Level 3 told 1News they have been inundated with calls, bookings and orders since they opened their doors on Wednesday.

LAB Brow Bar’s Penny Mahoney said she had close to 1000 bookings on Tuesday ahead of its reopening.

"Immediately, the work started yesterday," Mahoney said.

"We made hundreds and hundreds of phone calls and made online bookings and it's just been bananas!"

She said the period before Christmas was usually the busiest time of the year for her business.

"We were worried we weren't going to open, and we are really happy we are here now before December.

"I ordered thousands of masks. No shortage of masks here!"