PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

No panic needed, MP McAnulty says

Grace Prior
grace.prior@age.co.nz

Four people are isolating in Featherston with covid-19, with possible links to a trip to Rotorua, the Ministry of Health [MOH] confirmed on Thursday.

Wellington Regional Public Health said the four cases, as well as two cases in Lower Hutt, were from the same household.

Thursday also brought an additional location of interest in Wairarapa, bringing the total to five.

MOH said all four Wairarapa cases were now isolating in the same house.

“The two Lower Hutt cases are from the same household. The two cases in Lower Hutt had been in Rotorua recently, and further investigations and genome sequencing are under way to confirm the source of infection.”

MOH said public health staff were working to determine any locations of interest arising from the Wairarapa and Lower Hutt cases.

South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen said news of the Featherston cases was not unexpected and urged people to continue to go about their business while being vigilant about their protection.

Beijen said it was inevitable that covid-19 would reach Wairarapa.

“We all know the drill, but it’s vital we keep up the basic measures because we know they work.”

He said he felt sympathetic to the affected residents and asked that their privacy be respected.

Beijen said covid-19’s arrival in the region reinforced the importance of vaccination, and for those eligible, getting a booster.

The four Wairarapa cases brought the number of active cases in the Greater Wellington region to 10.

As of Thursday evening, Wairarapa had five locations of interest: one in Masterton, one in Greytown, and three in Carterton.

The latest location, updated at 5pm on Thursday, was The Big Apple Fruit Store in Greytown.

Masterton’s covid-19 testing centre. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

MOH advised people who had visited the store between 12.57pm and 1.15pm on Thursday, January 6, to self-monitor for covid-19 symptoms and, if symptoms developed, to get a test and self-isolate.

The three locations in Carterton were the New World supermarket, Owl’s Attic, and the Carrington Park public toilet.

The fourth location was Masterton’s popular Trocadero Coffee Bar.

Patrons who visited the cafe between the hours of 11.17am and 12.30pm on Sunday were considered close contacts to a covid-19 case and were required to self-isolate.

People who visited New World Carterton on Saturday between 2.15 and 2.30pm; Carrington Park public toilets between 2.30 and 2.35pm on Saturday; or Owl’s Attic between 12.43 and 12.53pm on Sunday were advised to self-monitor for covid-19 symptoms for 10 days from the date of potential exposure.

Featherston restaurant Waimarie Eatery and Bar also said in a Facebook post that it had been visited by a covid-19 case on Saturday between 9.05 and9.35pm.

It said its staff had been notified, and MOH had not advised that they self-isolate because the interaction was “low risk”.

However, the restaurant chose to close last night to complete a full clean of its premises.

MOH had not confirmed Waimarie as a location of interest by the time of publication.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said Wairarapa, like the rest of the nation, had been preparing for covid-19 for months. He said Wairarapa had been in a similar situation before.

“It’s not that long ago that we had cases in the community.”

He said Wairarapa’s high vaccination rate, the traffic light system, and overall compliance meant the region would be fine.

“We should remain vigilant, but there is no reason to panic.”

McAnulty said Wairarapa was the first rural region to reach a 90 per cent vaccination rate.

Featherston Medical Centre practice manager Aruni Dias said the practice was open and available for patients and covid-19 testing.

“The door is closed, but we are looking after our patients on the phone and in person, when need be, as well as for covid-19 testing.”

Where can I get my [booster] vaccine?

Masterton:

Departmental Building, 35-37 Chapel St: open Monday to Saturday, 10am-6.15 pm; and Sunday, 10am-2pm

Tekau ma Iwa, 195 Chapel St: open Friday and Saturday, 9.30am-4.30pm

Life Pharmacy, 132-136 Queen St: open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

Featherston:

Anzac Hall, Bell St: Tuesdays and Saturdays, 10am-3pm.

Carterton:

Carterton Pharmacy, 100 High St: open Monday to Thursday, 9am-5pm; and Friday, 9am-4.30pm.



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