A person in the Bay of Plenty has tested positive for Covid-19, as health officials discuss opening extra vaccine clinics in the area.
The person lived in Pukekohe, Auckland, and was in the process of moving to a rural area north of Katikati.
The Ministry of Health believes the risk is low as the person was vaccinated, had been tested regularly, and was a user of the Covid-19 tracer app.
They had been permitted to cross the boundary in and out of Auckland as they were in the process of shifting house, the Ministry of Health said. They had been having regular surveillance testing as part of this approval.
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The person was tested at least five times since the beginning of September, the most recent prior test was October 5.
All five of those tests were negative.
The latest test result had a high CT value, usually seen in the early or late stage of infection, and is under further investigation, including a repeat test, the ministry said.
The person had reported no symptoms apart from regular seasonal hayfever and a runny nose.
Locations of interest will be added to the Ministry of Health website as soon as confirmed. Initial information identified locations of interest in Katikati and Pukekohe.
All family members have been contacted, tests arranged and are currently isolating and their results are expected on Sunday.
Testing centres will be open on Sunday in Katikati.
Vaccine clinics to be announced Sunday morning
The Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber is urging residents to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“When it’s knocking on your door like this you have no option but prevention.”
Based on suburb-level data, Katikati’s vaccination are below the national average for both first and second doses, with 77.5 per cent in the coastal town having had one dose, and 49.5 per cent fully vaccinated.
The positive case regularly used the app.
Katikati has one vaccine clinic – at the local RSA, just off State Highway 2, which is currently open from 10am-3pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Residents have also been able to arrange to get a vaccine through the town’s only medical centre.
Outside that, they must travel to clinics in Tauranga – about 45 minutes away by car.
Officials working to stand up extra testing, vaccine sites
A Bay of Plenty District Health Board spokesperson said: “We are working on vaccine sites for Katikati, which includes access to the RSA where our usual clinic is located. We will provide an update in the morning.”
It was also working with the Ministry to stand up extra testing sites, the DHB said in a statement.
The current public health assessment was the risk appears contained, as the person is fully vaccinated and has been a consistent using the Covid-19 tracer app, the statement said.
“However, if you have Covid-19 symptoms, including mild cold or flu symptoms, please get tested, or contact Healthline for advice. Healthline is available free on 0800 358 5453.”
No locations of interest have been released, but the DHB encouraged people who live in Katikati, or who have visited recently, to keep checking the Ministry’s website.
Webber is fully vaccinated and urged residents to follow suit.
“The only way we can beat this is to get as close to 100 per cent vaccinations as possible.”
His reaction to news of the case, the first for the Bay of Plenty town, was “not printable”.
“I guess I’m dejected, disappointed for the town.”
Webber said he’d understand if the region had to join the Waikato, Auckland and Northland at alert level three.
There are 10 ingredients in the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. A microchip is not one of them.
Case a wake-up call – resident
Rochelle Thomson, a nurse who lives north of Katikati, was reassured that the case was vaccinated and using the tracer app.
She hoped the news would underscore the importance of vaccination.
“When you’re far away in these little isolated towns you think it’s apart from you but this is a bit of a wake-up call.”
Thomson says there has been good mask use in town: “I think people have accepted it as the new normal”.
Thomson administers Covid-19 vaccines at Waihi Health Centre for the centre’s patients.
Katikati only has a single vaccine clinic that’s open two days a week.
She encourages people to find a place near them where they can get vaccinated to protect the community, but urged people to be kind.
“Please be kind to vaccinators and your local GPs because there is really high demand and we’re doing our best to fill the need.”
James Denyer, a ward councillor for Katikati and Waihi Beach believed the case was only a matter of time.
“I think it was pretty inevitable, whether it happened now or in a couple of weeks.”
He was partially vaccinated, and encouraged others to “get on with it” and get their jab.
Testing locations open on Sunday
Katikati Medical Centre, 4 Clive Road, 8.30am – 4.30pm
Katikati Rugby and Sports Clubrooms, Fairview Rd, Katikati 8.30am – 4.30pm (hours will be extended if there is high-demand)
Tauranga Accident and HealthCare, 19 Second Avenue, 8am – 6pm
Vaccine clinics open Sunday
Tauranga Central Covid Vaccination Centre, 87 First Avenue, Tauranga, 8am – 3pm, walk-in
Baypark Stadium, Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui, 10am – 7pm, walk-in, wheelchair accessible