Covid-19 cases are rising in Te Awamutu. Today there were two new cases in the community and yesterday there were six, bringing the town's total to eight.
There is also one confirmed case in Kihikihi that was detected over the weekend.
All nine cases are linked to existing cases.
The positive cases follow two positive Covid-19 detections in wastewater samples taken from Te Awamutu on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, which also include flows from Kihikihi and Waikeria Prison.
With this news the Waikato District Health Board immediately set up a pop-up testing station at the Te Awamutu Events Centre. Testing continues today and tomorrow at the site from 10am to 4.30pm.
And a station was also put in place at the Kihikihi Sports Domain on Monday. The DHB advises checking their Facebook page and website for the Kihikihi pop-up testing station dates and times as these are updated daily.
Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says region-wide testing is very important and encourages people to get vaccinated if they have not already done so.
"If you have not been vaccinated, today is the day to do it."
Waipā deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk urged people to get tested if they had symptoms, and isolate at home until the result is received.
"We need to ensure anyone who needs it, gets tested. Even if you have just a runny nose, get tested. It is imperative we stamp out Covid-19 in our community."
She also says the person who tested positive for Covid-19 in Kihikihi did the right thing by getting tested.
"If this person hadn't got tested, we would still be unclear as to where the two positive wastewater results originated so I would like to thank them for being responsible and taking swift action. It's important that we support them in what will be a very stressful time," says Liz.
And for those who haven't as yet – vaccinate, she says.
"Vaccination is an important tool in fighting Covid-19 in our community. For those who have not got vaccinated as yet, I really do plead with you to step up and get it done."
Te Awamutu locations of interest
Two locations in Te Awamutu have been added to the Ministry of Health's contact tracing location of interests list following the detection of eight community cases of Covid-19 in the town.
The locations include Fresh Choice Supermarket on Tuesday, October 12 between 6.30pm and 7.30pm and the College Superette on Alexandra St opposite Te Awamutu College Tuesday, October 12 and Wednesday, October 13, both between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
The advice for both locations from officials is to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days after you were exposed at this location of interest. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result and until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.
Liz reminds residents to make sure they were using the contact tracing app whenever they went.
"Here is an example of why we need everyone to be using the app, or recording their visits to locations manually. It's the quickest way to trace where you have been."
Back to School
Covid-19 Response Minister and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today that students in Years 11-13 will be able to return to school at alert level 3 from Tuesday next week.
Students will be required to wear a mask at school and on school transport they will be required to wear a mask.
Staff and volunteers working on site will need to be able to show a negative Covid test and they are required to have their first vaccination no later than November 15.
Hipkins also said NCEA and Scholarship exams will proceed including in level 3 areas.
Students in Northland, Auckland and Waikato will be eligible for an unexpected event grade if they could not attend an exam due to Covid-19 disruption, he said. Where they did attend exams, they would receive the better of their exam grade or their unexpected event grade.