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Waikato DHB urges communities to take extra care as investigations underway

September 20 – Waikato DHB is asking the communities in and around Kaiaua, Whakatīwai, Mangatangi, and Maramarua to take extra precautions today as public health officials investigate confirmed COVID-19 cases in a local household.

Three household members of a remand prisoner with COVID-19 were confirmed as testing positive for the virus yesterday. Two of the three household members attended Mangatangi School on the Hauraki Plains.

Anyone who attended the school on Wednesday 15 September and Thursday 16 September is considered a close contact and has been asked to self-isolate and seek a COVID-19 test. The DHB’s Public Health unit are working closely with the school, which was not opened today, to provide guidance.

Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki is operating a drive-through testing centre at Wharekawa Marae, Cnr Rata Road and East Coast Road, Kaiaua today and Tuesday from 9am to 3pm, with support from the DHB. The centre had processed 150 swabs in the first two hours of operation.

Waikato DHB Chief Executive Dr Snee said all tests would be fast tracked with results expected late tonight.

He said experts from Waikato DHB and Auckland Regional Public Health were working rapidly to confirm whether there had been any further transmission.

“Our advice to the local community is to exercise an abundance of caution at this stage. If you are able to stay home, please do. For those who do need to go out, please take extra care to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly.”

Dr Snee said the DHB was following this advice with a restricted visitor policy from 2pm today (full details on our website) and services across all hospitals reduced to acute and urgent care only from tomorrow, with outpatient clinics utilising virtual and phone consults wherever possible. Thames Hospital also began surveillance testing of all incoming patients from last night.

“These are difficult decisions to make as they have a significant impact. However, the decision has been made to take a cautious approach, prioritising the safety of our patients and staff. Once we have a better understanding of whether there has been further community transmission, we will review this decision.

“The DHB will be contacting all affected individuals to discuss options for treatment and/or deferral if required and we apologise for any inconvenience or distress this disruption may cause.”

COVID-19 Testing Centres

· Drive-through testing centre at Wharekawa Marae, Cnr Rata Road and East Coast Road, Kaiaua, Monday 20 September and Tuesday 21 September, 9am to 3pm.

· Designated GP practices across the Waikato and the community testing centre at Founders Theatre, Norton Road, Hamilton also have testing capacity.

· For a full list of locations where people can get a COVID-19 test, go to Healthpoint or call your GP to check if they are testing.

Update on COVID-19 vaccinations in the Waikato DHB region

As of 19 September 2021, 374,208 vaccinations have been delivered in the Waikato: 247,282 first doses and 126,926 second doses. Of the eligible Waikato population (12 years and older), 69.4% have had one dose and 35.7% are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 Vaccination programme at Alert Level 2

· Pop-up drive-through vaccination clinics, 9.30am to 3pm, Tuesday 21 September:

o Ecoquest Education Foundation, 1204 East Coast Road, Whakatīwai

o Maramarua Rugby Football Club, 22222 State Highway 2, Maramarua.

· The Thames Community Vaccination Centre at Goldfields Shopping Centre, 100 Mary Road, is open 11am – 3pm, Monday 20 September, for walk-in vaccinations. The centre is normally closed on Mondays.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to make good progress under Alert Level 2. Drive-through clinics continue to be popular.

The University of Waikato ran a pop-up vaccination clinic to mark Kiingitanga Day on Thursday 16 September, the first to be held on a New Zealand university campus.

Waikato Muslim Association ran a pop-up vaccination clinic on Sunday 19 September at Iqra Educare, Heaphy Terrace, Hamilton.

The programme will be putting more mobile clinics on the road in coming months. The aim is to make it easier for harder-to-reach communities to access vaccinations close to home, particular the more vulnerable Māori and Pacific population.

Walk-ins available

Community vaccination centres across the Waikato are now accepting walk-ins and will vaccinate people then and there if possible. Other vaccination sites also now do not require an appointment.

Making a vaccination appointment

The best way of guaranteeing a vaccination on the time, day and place of your choosing is still to book.

· If you have made a booking and are not able to attend your appointment, please cancel your booking so someone else can use that appointment time.

· If you are unsure when your appointment is, check on the booking system at https://app.bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/manage using your contact number or email address and booking reference. Alternatively, you can call 0800 28 29 26 for assistance.

· Everyone aged 12+ can now visit bookmyvaccine.nz to make their bookings.

· We ask everyone when attending their appointments under Alert Level 2 to remain vigilant and follow the key public health measures detailed on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Changes to Waikato DHB services and visitors to our hospitals

Waikato DHB will need to limit the number of people coming in to our hospitals given we do not know the full extent of the implications of these positive cases at this stage.

We will be carefully managing outpatient referrals and limiting the amount of planned care in our hospitals from tomorrow. This means moving to virtual and phone consults where possible.

Planned elective surgeries will only be taking place tomorrow and for urgent cases, meaning services at our hospitals will be limited to urgent, acute and cancer patients only.

While we are still at Alert Level 2, we are taking a cautious approach until more information is available to keep our patients and staff safe.

For those patients coming to our hospitals, everyone must wear a face covering at our hospitals (unless they have an exemption) and physical distancing of 2m is in place, as per the regulations around public places.

Anyone needing immediate or urgent help should seek medical care by calling 111 for an ambulance, or going to their nearest hospital emergency department. However, please do ensure the emergency department is used for emergencies only.

We thank the community for their understanding and cooperation at this time. As always, our priority is the safety and care of our patients, whānau and staff.

We thank everyone for understanding and respecting our safety requirements.

If people have flu-like symptoms

Do not come into the hospital if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.

If you are concerned about your risk of COVID-19, please ring Healthline (0800 358 5453). They will tell you if you need to be tested and what to do next.

· It is free to get a COVID-19 test

· GPs are able to provide assessment and testing – please phone your practice first

· Please do not turn up to your GP without an appointment

· After hours, you can be seen at an urgent care clinic

· We recommend you take your NHI number with you, which can speed up the timeframe to receive your test results.

COVID-19 tests are free.

© Scoop Media

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