Testing urged after Covid-19 found in wastewater samples


Authorities are asking anyone with Covid-19 symptoms in Hawke’s Bay, East Cape and Taranaki to get tested today after the virus was detected in wastewater samples taken in Napier, Gisborne and Stratford.

Wastewater samples, analysis of sars-cov-2 virus in patients infected by human coronavirus 229E, conceptual image

Photo: 123RF

The samples could be from recently recovered cases returning to the region after being in managed isolation, or could signal undetected cases in the community.

There are no MIQ facilities, or known Covid-19 cases self-isolating, in either area.

Further samples will be taken in the coming days, with results expected early next week.

In Taranaki, testing facilities are open today at Taranaki and Hawera Hospitals, the Stratford War Memorial Car Park and Ōpunake Medical Centre.

In Gisborne testing is available at a drive-through set up in Peel Street from 9am-5pm; no appointment is required.

In Hawke’s Bay there are testing centres open today at Napier, Hastings, Wairoa and Waipukurau.

Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke said the detection of Covid in wastewater is a wake-up call for the region, where 69 percent of people are double dosed with the Pfizer vaccine.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise but it’s certainly a reality check and when it’s on your back door I think everybody wants to sharpen up and make sure they’re on board with the vacination process.”

Volzke hopes for a rush in people turning out to get vaccinated and tested today.

And people around the country are being encouraged to get their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine today, as it is three weeks since Super Saturday.

Nearly 40,000 received their first shot that day, and follow-up vaccination events are happening this weekend.

The biggest event is GotYaDot at Eden Park which will be open for vaccinations from 12-8pm today and tomorrow.

Anyone who gets vaccinated will get their name on the big screen as well as the opportunity to walk through the rugby players’ tunnel.

In Porirua vaccinations will be administered during a tag football event tomorrow and in New Plymouth tomorrow afternoon a multi-ethnic family fun day is planned.

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