I don't know about you, but that last Sunday in level 3 was pretty wild at my place.
It all started with news that half of Auckland - specifically those living in its southern and western suburbs - were being asked to get a Covid test.
Ooof. That's intense, I thought. Perhaps our most ambitious testing goal yet. I squinted at my phone a second time to double-check I hadn't misread the information.
"It's from that Government Covid-19 [Facebook] account," my flatmate shouted out.
"We'll have to watch the 1pm announcement to find out what is going on."
"It's okay though, because apparently the Health Minister says we're 'ploughing ahead' to level 2 regardless," she said.
At that point, it was like an explosion of questions in my head.
Is he for real? Since when do we "plough ahead" when it comes to public health restrictions? If residents out South and West are being asked to go today, will the rest of the city be down for testing later in the week? We're in One Tree Hill, which isn't that far from Māngere Bridge. Could I just get a test now, because in all honesty, it's probably more convenient than doing it during the week?
"I don't want that thing shoved up my nose if I don't need it," my flatmate said flatly. "Happy to deliver you to a station if you're that keen," she followed in a far more animated tone.
I went from squinting at my phone to giving her the side-eye.
"Nah, I'm cool," I said. "I'll just wait to see what they have to say. But, does it say why West Auckland is up? Because the cases have been mainly out South and in Central, haven't they?"
She shrugged and went back to her laptop. The collective silence meant we were both coming up with a range of theories behind the city's latest mass testing call and what could happen in the week ahead. Such are the amateur epidemiologists we've become this year. I must say though, it's always interesting to see whether any theories come remotely close to reality. It's usually a combination of information from official announcements and qualified experts thatconfirm they don't and show why scientists and/or health researchers and/or doctors we are not.
Anyway, as 1pm rolled around, we were both ready to understand what was happening in Auckland. It was the Prime Minister and Director of Public Health, Dr Caroline McElnay, on stage. They went through the numbers, changes for the week at level 2 and broad testing criteria. Weirdly, nothing was said of the mass testing call.
The answers came during the question and answer session. Usually, this part does my flatmate's head in, while I don't mind the dramatics of journalistic questioning as much. As the Prime Minister explained the weekend testing message was a "comms" error currently being fixed, both of us crossed off theories we'd earlier dreamed up. However, it was comments from Ardern, which discussed why she had not addressed the error earlier, that caught us both off-guard.
"Oh, look I certainly knew I'd have that opportunity in questions and I've set out what our testing regime is," Ardern said. "So, it's very, very clear in what I've said today what our expectations are and I had every anticipation you'd give me a chance to talk about the incorrect comms."
With a fresh serve of side-eye, I remarked: "I see. So she was just waiting to be asked about messages telling half of the city to get tested before clarifying they were actually wrong. I suppose they won't be announcing when Central and North Auckland should hit the stations then."
We both burst out laughing and shut off the live feed. I read out a tweet from political commentator Ben Thomas to emphasise the day's confusion: "Also, which Wellington [Master of Arts] grad decided Mt Roskill was West Auckland?"
"Cool, cool," my flatmate said while giggling and shaking her head. With that, both of us made strong predictions about whether Tokoroa could be next for an accidental mass testing call and swore it would be the last Sunday in Auckland for level 3 ever.