It's been a tough week. Thank you to everyone here in Whangārei for keeping calm and managing through another alert level 3. I know it's hard waiting for more information while police and health officials continue to work round the clock to track the positive cases' movements.
We're all asking for answers and certainty, but with an unpredictable virus and two irresponsible people refusing to co-operate, the only real certainty is if Delta finds its way here, without higher vaccination rates we will be facing a situation similar to Auckland's.
This is the first time we are dealing with a prolonged refusal to co-operate. We are relying on CCTV footage and police investigations to progress this case. They are trained to deal with these situations, and they are working flat out. We know the cases have travelled extensively around Northland, but we may never know all the places they have visited.
Because of the uncertainty, if you (like me) were in Whangārei, Onerahi, Waipū or Whau Valley between Saturday, October 2, and Wednesday the 6th, please consider getting a test.
Negative test results and negative wastewater testing are our best way to work out the risk of community transmission.
Meanwhile, I have a simple, but essential, ask of everyone in our community: don't wait – get vaccinated.
I was out at some of our clinics before lockdown, listening to people's reasons for vaccinating: "So I don't miss out on the Homegrown concert," said one lady. "For my nan and pop," said a girl. "So I can see my Auckland whanau faster," said a young man.
Getting as many Whangārei whanau vaccinated ASAP is the key to stopping us being held to ransom by selfishness, preventing future lockdowns and getting back to doing the things we love.
On Saturday, Kelvin Davis, Willow-Jean Prime and I held an open-invitation Zoom hui with 62 Tai Tokerau community leaders who jumped in at the last minute on their weekend to help co-ordinate our big push for vaccinations, Super Saturday. If your group missed it and wants to get involved, please contact us.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection. We need as many workers as possible to be vaccinated to allow sectors to respond and deliver everyday services with as little disruption as possible.
Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic, keeping themselves and others safe, and while most staff are already fully or partially vaccinated, we can't leave anything to chance and are making it mandatory.
It's not an easy decision, but we need those who work with vulnerable communities and aren't yet vaccinated to take this extra step. Vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 are not yet approved, and a high rate of vaccinations will help protect staff from getting sick and passing Covid-19 on to loved ones.
We have a path forward, and our position remains very strong. We're world leading on low case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths. Our economy is strong and unemployment low.
To get here, everyone in Whangārei and NZ has made sacrifices, and we are now at one of the trickiest and most challenging moments in the Covid-19 pandemic so far.
But we've got this. It's time to make the transition from lockdown restrictions to the individual armour of vaccines. See you on Super Saturday!
• Emily Henderson is the electorate MP for Whangārei. She can be contacted at Emily.HendersonMP@parliament.govt.nz .