A further two cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Taranaki, bringing the region's total of current cases to five.
The five cases, two adults and three children, are across three linked households and have a known link to a previously reported case in Rotorua. The adults were unvaccinated and all of the children are under the age of 12.
Three of the people have since relocated back to their families in different regions and are being monitored and cared for in their respective DHB areas – Rotorua and Waikato. The other two, an adult and child, remain in New Plymouth.
The cases are currently managing their health in self-isolation and receiving appropriate care and support, says Taranaki District Health Board Covid-19 response manager Gillian Campbell.
Following the announcement of the first three cases last night, three schools in New Plymouth announced they would be closed today. The schools were Devon Intermediate, West End Te Kura Ō Mōrere and Marfell School.
Gillian says the Public Health Unit is working to identify locations of interest in New Plymouth, but so far the primary location of interest is Devon Intermediate School.
"We are also aware Marfell School has been discussed as a potential location of interest, however we can confirm the child who attended this school has tested negative."
The people were not using the tracer app, she says.
"Unfortunately, these people didn't use the Covid-19 Tracer App which makes contact tracing a bit harder, but we believe there are few locations of interest and most of these are considered low-risk. Close contacts have been identified and we are helping these people to get tested and isolate."
Gillian says the affected families are working with the health team.
"It is important to remember these people are part of our community, and are working closely with our public health team to comply with self-isolation requirements at home. We need to help respect their privacy during a challenging time like this."
Current locations of interest include:
Devon Intermediate School, Blagdon Hot Bread Bakery and Four Square Blagdon.
Demand for testing in New Plymouth experienced a surge today, with over 400 tests completed by midday.
TDHB testing centres in New Plymouth and Hāwera extended operational hours to meet demand, and two pop-up clinics were run to help support students, staff and whānau associated with Devon Intermediate and the Marfell School community.
Gillian says it's imperative to have collaboration with all the local health providers.
"Working together for the health of our community is so important as we face the uncertainty of Covid-19. We are grateful to our Māori Health and iwi providers for standing up their clinics so quickly today, and will continue to support this mahi for the people of Taranaki."
Testing will be available throughout the region this weekend at extended hours when required and Covid-19 vaccination centres will also be operating. For locations and times visit the TDHB website.