Written by on January 2, 2022

So much can change and so quickly. As a country we have lived with the fear of Covid for nearly two years. Closer to home on the Coromandel, we’ve had the odd brush with Covid.

Let’s go back to August 17 2021. The Prime Minister has called a news conference announcing that New Zealand would be going into a level 4 lockdown for 3 days but the Coromandel and Auckland would remain in lockdown for a week. This followed the discovery of New Zealand’s first Delta case, a man from Devonport who was tested on August 16 and was thought to be infections since August 12, had visited and stayed in Coromandel Town from 13 to 15 August. He was immediately sent to MIQ at Auckland’s Jet Park facility.

As we know cases in Auckland spread quickly with several clusters and while no cases eventuated in Coromandel, Auckland remained in lockdown till just prior to Christmas. Delta was dubbed a game changer and the vaccination roll out gathered momentum.

Now roll forward to December 31 2021, just 137 days later and rumours start circulating of a positive case in Matarangi. First indication was a post from Pipers Restaurant which said that due to a secondary contact with Covid in the community they would be closed pending test results. Pipers reopened the following day after getting Ministry of Health clearance. However, in the daily covid results a new case is reported in Whitianga? Obviously, someone was having issues with their geography.

Later that day the Mercury Bay Medical Centre issue a Facebook post saying there was a positive case in Matarangi, (not Whitianga) and the person had multiple contacts and requested anybody with symptoms needing testing to ring them on 07 866 5911 to organise a time slot for a test.

The Waikato DHB has today confirmed to CFM that the case will be reclassified as Matarangi in the next update. A spokesperson for the Waikato DHB told CFM that “locations of interest are published when public health officials do not have a good understanding of who was present at a potential exposure event. Where public health officials are able to identify and notify potential contacts (for example where an exposure event was in a private setting) it is generally not necessary to publish a location of interest.”

This would indicate that any exposures to the positive case were identified people who have been tested and are isolating and there were no public exposures.

What a difference 137 days can make. This was clearly evident on New Years Eve with many people closely packed into venues and many not wearing masks.

There has been a huge influx of visitors to the Coromandel and it has brought with it smiling faces for local businesses and a buzz that’s been missing for some time. It’s also brought a group of people who are suffering lock down fatigue and confidence from being double vaccinated. There will be many looking closely at the daily announcements over the next week or so waiting to see how many cases (if any) appear on the Peninsula.

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