Waikato residents who live in the centre of a possible new Covid-19 outbreak have headed en-masse to a pop-up testing site.
About 40 cars were already in the queue at the drive-through station at Wharekawa Marae this morning after news three people had tested positive for Covid yesterday.
The news could put the Waikato at risk of going up an alert level or two as Cabinet meets to decide whether there will be any change this afternoon.
However, the Ministry of Health confirmed the cases would come under Auckland's total as Whakatīwai falls within the Counties Mānakau DHB catchment area.
Waikato DHB was advising its residents in its boundary of Kaiaua, Whakatīwai, Mangatangi, and Maramarua to get tested as they work out if there has been community transmission.
DHB chief executive Dr Kevin Snee said all tests would be fast-tracked with results expected late tonight.
Given the fragility of any more suspected cases, a restricted visitor policy would come into force from 2pm today across all its hospitals which would be reduced to acute and urgent care only from tomorrow.
Outpatient clinics would use virtual and phone consults wherever possible.
Thames Hospital began surveillance testing of all incoming patients from last night.
One of the new cases is an Auckland man who was granted electronically monitored bail to his house near Kaiaua.
Two children living at his home have since tested positive and were symptomatic while attending Mangatangi School on the Hauraki Plains on Thursday.
The school has been closed and parents and students were now being tested.
The three cases were being moved to quarantine.
Lynn Harvey, the owner of the town's only general store The Pink Shop, is waiting for a phone call confirming her business is a location of interest.
Harvey said if the family who had Covid was who she thought it was then she knew they had been in the shop.
"It's just a little bit scary."
Harvey said the seaside town had been very quiet this morning and people were concerned and wary.
"There's no negativity about it all - we are just in a level of unknown."
There were also a lot of questions about how the person managed to travel from a level 4 area to a level 2 area.
Harvey and another staff member were also getting ready to go and get a test this afternoon and she encouraged others to do the same, wear masks and socially distance.
After an initial rush at the Kaiaua testing station, at Wharekawa Marae, the queue of cars had eased with only about 20 cars waiting by midday.
Earlier, the queue had been noticeably slowly growing and snaking back along the main road.
Most cars had at least two people in them and included older residents.
GAS Kaiaua owner Mark Remnant said the family who had tested positive was new to the area and while he didn't know their names he was pretty sure they had also visited his petrol station last week.
"We are pretty confident we are (a location of interest). We should be running wagers on how long it takes them to tell us."
Remnant returned from fishing last night to learn that people in the town had tested positive.
He said "it is what it is" and they would just have to wait and see what happens and what this afternoon's announcement brought.
Eddie Manukau, the kaiwhakahaere for Wharekawa Marae, said at least 100 cars had gone through the testing station since it opened at 9am.
Cars had been waiting to be tested since 8am, he said.
The messaging at the moment for locals was that they only needed one member from each house to be tested and people seemed to be following that advice, he said.
Kaiaua School was closed today, while the Mangatangi School community was nervous about the news.
Manukau said it was a country area and everybody knew everybody.
"Everybody knows who these people are and it's just a matter of ensuring their wellbeing at this time."
The family infected with Covid had been the target of some negative comments, but all they could do was support them.
He said it was heartening to see people taking it seriously.
"Even though we are currently in level 2 we have been encouraging our whanau to isolate and stay in their bubbles."
The risk of infection was high as there were only three main retail shops - the gas station, the dairy and the pub - and all eyes were on whether the infected people had been to any of these locations while contagious.
Miranda Laurich was in her car with her daughter and young grandson.
News that Covid could be in the area was "devastating" given it was such a small community.
Her grandson also had a sniffle which was another reason they decided to get tested.
Ray Barchard and his partner, who are both essential workers, had woken with colds this morning so had decided to join the queue and get tested.
When asked how they were feeling about it, they replied: "It's just how it is." They had also been keeping an eye on any new locations of interest to see if they had been at any.
Most residents spoken to had also been to The Pink Shop in the past few days.
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki chief executive Riana Manuel, whose organisation is running the testing station, said they had already tested quite a few Mangatangi School students and they had handled it "very, very well".
Children from all over the area attended Mangatangi School.
Some of those coming through had been vaccinated and they were encouraging everyone else to be vaccinated at the vaccination centre that would be set up in Kaiaua from tomorrow.
The testing station would be there all week.