Hundreds of Kaikohe residents have requested testing for Covid-19 after a staff member at the town's New World supermarket was diagnosed with the virus.

Late on Saturday, the Northland District Health Board urged people who had been to the supermarket between March 20-30 to pay close attention to their health and get checked at any of the community testing stations around Northland if they developed symptoms of Covid-19.

The symptoms include a dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose and temporary loss of smell.

The Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi Covid-19 testing team ready for action in Kaikohe. Photo / supplied
The Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi Covid-19 testing team ready for action in Kaikohe. Photo / supplied

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On Sunday, 158 people turned up at the Kaikohe testing station with another 133 on Monday and more than 150 yesterday.

Not all required testing, however. A total of 29 swabs were taken on Sunday, 36 on Monday and just over 20 yesterday. The test results were not known at edition time yesterday.

Kaikohe's Community-Based Assessment and Testing Centre is operated by Te Hau Ora o Ngapuhi, a division of Te Rūnanga-A-Iwi o Ngāpuhi, in partnership with Broadway Health, Mahtatahi Hauora and the Northland District Health Board.

It is the only iwi-led testing station in Northland.

Ngāpuhi Pandemic Response team leader Tia Ashby said many of the people who had visited in recent days just wanted reassurance what they had, such as rashes or colds, was not Covid-19.

''There's a lot of anxiety. When there's a positive case in the community, it does create uncertainty about what tomorrow will bring.''

Patients were educated about the virus and urged to stay home, a message which Ashby said was starting to sink in. Many of the people calling in were referred to the iwi's social services provider for help with food and water. The Kaikohe area is still affected by drought.

Others were referred to the iMoko virtual treatment programme which allows children to be treated for minor conditions without leaving home.


The virus was having a ripple effect with the loss of jobs and the lockdown leading to increased poverty, stress within the home and domestic violence, Ashby said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has reassured Kaikohe residents it is safe to keep shopping at New World. The staff member was in isolation and all close contacts had been tested for the virus.

As well as sending home the worker's immediate team members until their test results came back, New World's parent company, Foodstuffs, said the whole store was given a deep clean.

■ If you live in Kaikohe and think you need a Covid-19 test, first call 0800 Ngapuhi (642 7844). If testing is recommended, Kaikohe's testing station is based at the Te Rūnanga-A-Iwi o Ngāpuhi headquarters at 16 Mangakahia Rd. It is open 8.30am-4pm Monday-Friday and 8.30am-2pm weekends, including through the Easter break. Anyone who wants Covid-19 advice should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.