Covid-19: Northland cases ‘no surprise’, with low vaccination rates at border



New cases of Covid-19 in Northland have come as no surprise to Kaipara’s mayor, who has been advocating for better services in areas next to the Auckland border. Four cases announced over the weekend are all from one household in the Kaiwaka area, which is “right on the border” with alert level 3 Auckland, Dr Jason Smith said. A further case was announced in Northland on Monday, bringing the total number in the region to 13.Ricky Wilson/StuffHigh-profile vaccination drives, like this one in Whangārei, haven’t reached Kaipara on the northern border of Auckland, the district’s mayor says. The Ministry of Health said in a press release on Monday all the cases were isolating at home. READ MORE:* Covid-19: Four new cases in Northland in the last 24 hours* Covid-19: Three-hour ambulance wait for rural Northland case in home isolation* Covid-19: Two new cases in Northland with no known link to other cases in area The Kaiwaka cases are unrelated to eight cases in the Far North, but it is still unclear whether Monday’s case is linked, with public health still investigating.Abigail Dougherty/StuffKaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith says the Kaiwaka area has been poorly serviced by vaccination drives, despite being on the doorstep of alert level 3 Auckland. (File photo) Smith said one member of the Kaiwaka household was crossing the border for essential work in Auckland, where they picked up the virus. To make matters worse, one case was initially classed as an Auckland case on Friday, after the patient got an assessment and test at their doctor in Wellsford, which is in the Auckland region. “The Northland District Health Board weren’t aware of the case until a day later, when it got handed over, and then it becomes a Northland statistic,” he said. The overlays in health services and confusion over the location of the border with Auckland have been issues right from the start of the pandemic and have been “treated roughly”, he said. Another issue was the lack of high-profile vaccination clinics and mobile clinics to reach the rural areas. Daily clinics in Northland were based in Whangārei, a drive of at least 50 minutes, or Dargaville, more than an hour away, he said.Ricky Wilson/StuffVaccination centres in Northland which are open daily include one at Whangārei’s Semenoff Stadium, about 50 minutes’ drive from Kaiwaka. (File photo) “This is the nearest part of Northland to Auckland, and it seems to have been in a rain-shadow for vaccine drives.” The lack of vaccination clinics in the area is reflected by poor statistics, with the full vaccination rate being just 50 per cent in coastal Kaipara, 53 per cent in Kaiwaka, and 54 per cent in Ōtamatea, according to figures from Saturday. Smith hoped more people in the area would now get vaccinated, with local health provider Te Ha Oranga holding a mobile vaccination clinic on the corner of State Highway 1 and Ōruawharo Rd on Monday. Vaccinations were also being offered in a number of centres across Northland, as well as at Coast to Coast Healthcare in Wellsford, Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she will be travelling north on Tuesday, to support Northland’s vaccination efforts. The region remains at alert level 2, with 64.3 per cent fully vaccinated as of October 26. Locations of interest include Whangārei and Kaiwaka Locations of interest related to Northland’s latest Covid-19 cases include the school office at Mangawhai Beach School, Kaiwaka Food Mart, Kaiwaka Four Square, and Caltex Kaiwaka. Several locations in Whangārei have also been added, including large stores like The Warehouse, Countdown Whangārei and Kmart. Trampoline park Flip Out Whangārei, The ToolShed, Oakleigh Service Station and McDonalds Raumanga have also been included. The Ministry of Health said public health interviews continue to identify new locations of interest, and Northlanders are asked to keep checking the list regularly and follow the corresponding advice. Further information about the locations, and what to do if you were there at the relevant time, is available below. Covid-19 testing available across Northland Covid-19 testing is being run all around Northland on Tuesday. In Kaipara, there will be testing at Kaiwaka’s Three Furlongs hotel, and at Dargaville Hospital. Covid testing in Whangārei will be held at Kamo’s Winger Cres. In the Far North, there will be testing at Kaitāia Hospital, Rāwene Hospital, Ōhaeawai Rugby Clubrooms, Kerikeri’s Sammaree Pl and Ngāti Hine Health Trust in Kawakawa.



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