Gastro outbreak: Council issues apology

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Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule issued a joint statement with chief executive Ross McLeod this morning after E. coli contaminated the water supply in Havelock North.
Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule issued a joint statement with chief executive Ross McLeod this morning after E. coli contaminated the water supply in Havelock North.

The Hastings District Council has put out a full page apology this morning for contaminated water leading to at least two people becoming critically ill.

Hawke's Bay Hospital has confirmed two older people in its Intensive Care Unit in a critical condition, both with a gastro illness and both from Havelock North. A death at a Havelock North rest home may also be linked to the illness.

Iona College and Woodford House schools have been closed until Wednesday while accident and medical centres, pharmacies and St John reporting increased numbers overnight.

Hundreds of school students were absent due to the disease on Friday.

The outbreak has been linked to an underground bore which tested positive for E. coli.

This mornings edition of the Hawke's Bay Today newspaper carried a full-page apology from the Hastings District Council, signed by the mayor Lawrence Yule and chief executive Ross McLeod.

"The council is charged with supplying you safe, reliable water," the statement read. "The council has failed to do this on this occasion.

"As mayor and chief executive, we offer our sincere apology for this."

The statement outlined how the Havelock North water supply was tested on Tuesday, August 9, and found to be clear.

A further test on Thursday, August 11, found a presence of E. coli. This result was available on Friday - about the same time discussions began with the district health board over "patterns of illness" starting to emerge.

The statement said chlorination of the water supply would continue indefinitely and a "major investigation" was underway into identifying the cause and ensuring it did not occur again.

"For those of you that are affected by this illness, please look after yourselves, your family and your neighbours.

"Keeping you safe from any further ourbreak of this type is our utmost priority."

Read the full document here

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