It took a moment to start typing this article, what with untangling fingers crossed for good news on Thursday. As I write, I doubt there's many in Whangārei who aren't a bit on edge as we wait for the testing results we hope will lead safely to level 3.
Additional wastewater testing at more than 20 Northland sites are due on Thursday, alongside further testing from close contacts throughout Northland. If these are all clear, level 3 starts at midnight Thursday.
While we wait, I'm taking a moment to thank everyone in Whangārei for your hard and selfless work to stop the spread of Covid-19.
A particular thanks to those on the front line. Every single person of the many I have contacted, from the Hikurangi Four Square manager to the police officers doing back-to-back shifts, to the teachers working long hours to get kids learning online, the MSD staff, and the foodbank workers, everyone has been calm and well prepared.
Thanks also to our other Covid-response front line, our medical team. The local testers and vaccinators, the tracing experts and public health modellers in the Health Ministry whose expertise is leading us through this jungle, are all extraordinary.
Some of us have been anxious about the longer wait for this transition, but going hard and early is the best way to stop the virus. Swift, tough action is especially important now, with the more-infectious Delta variant.
Warkworth isn't part of Northland, but our communities are linked, and tracing the poor infected person there quickly led straight back here. It's a timely reminder of the need for vigilance.
But whatever the timeline on Thursday, we are going to get through. Our economy survived the last lockdown far better than expected, including in Northland. We have a good base to work from and we know what to do: we've done it before. Meanwhile, the Government and local stakeholders are working hard behind the scenes to improve our response in the next stages.
Please look after your mental health over the next while. Stress is part of life, but Covid adds another dimension. We're all living with the strain. The past few days, as many people struggled to adjust to the idea we might be in for a longer haul, demonstrate that the way we're living can worsen the strain. Thanks to phones and laptops, work never has to stop, and neither does our exposure to one another's fears on social media.
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We're all worried. I'm worried. And worry – like a virus - can be difficult to control once it gets hold.
So I'm going to concentrate on what I can control rather than what I can't: I'm going to vaccinate my teens, watch stupid movies with them and argue about whose turn it is to wash the dishes and take the not-entirely-house-trained rescue pup outside. I'm going to answer every email worry and Facebook post I can, and keep working on next steps for Northland.
Businesses can use this time to plan for contactless opening and meeting public health requirements. We can book our vaccinations, which will ultimately protect us from future outbreaks.
Level 3 isn't normalcy. It means still staying mostly in your bubble, distancing and contactless transactions. But it is a step forward, and we will get to take it one day soon. We can do this.
• Emily Henderson is the electorate MP for Whangārei. She can be contacted at Emily.HendersonMP@parliament.govt.nz