Covid spreads south

The Government has responded to the spread of Covid from Hamilton by announcing a Super Saturday of vaccinations on Saturday October 16 – rather than new Lockdown levels.

Cambridge was on tenterhooks yesterday morning after it became evident that there had been a positive test in the area.

It transpired it was in Karāpiro.

Another case was revealed in Kawhia by Ōtorohanga mayor Max Baxter.

Waipā District Council sources had earlier leaked the news, sparking social media debate and queues at supermarkets.

We made the decision to publish on our website and social media from 10.05am.

But the all-important timing issue was paramount for official purposes.

“The Ministry announces case numbers and other details at the 1pm stand up and statement,” the News was told at 10am.

Jim Mylchreest

At 10.14am, a spokesperson for mayor Jim Mylchreest – who had reportedly already updated councillors, retirement facilities and the Chamber of Commerce – responded: “Sounds like the rumour mill is at play” and that they had “no official notification from the DHB.”

At the same time as the 1pm press conference was in play, the council released a statement saying “Waipā District Council was notified by Waikato District Health Board about the case” and a testing station was being set up in Kārapiro.

This week Waipā was leading the Waikato in the rate of first jabs, at 82 per cent and was fractionally behind Hamilton for the second at a shade under 50 per cent.

But Māori rates – despite lifting significantly following appeals in the Cambridge and Te Awamutu News last week were still lagging at 25.8 and 46.4 per cent.

For that reason, the News today presents a column written by Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta who implores whanau to get vaccinated.

Nanaia Mahuta

Also today, on Page 3, we look at an impediment to getting vaccinated – scaremongering on social media.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has encouraged the 80 per cent of eligible people who have received one dose of the vaccine to encourage the other 20 per cent to do so.

A higher lockdown level would have been another blow to Waipā businesses already struggling to bring staff in from Hamilton.

Kelly Bouzaid

Those difficulties prompted Chamber of Commerce chief executive Kelly Bouzaid to suggest it would have been better had Cambridge been included in the lockdown on Sunday night.

She was taken literally and later told the News she had not meant it to sound quite that way – “in context my point was around Delta transmission and where our vaccine levels currently sit”.

“My phone is running red hot with employers struggling to operate with key staff locked down and business owners unable to travel to work and seeking clarification around travelling across borders,” she said.

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