While Raglan streets were deserted because of the latest Covid-19 outbreak, their vaccination and testing centres have been working full steam ahead.
When the Raglan case was announced on Sunday, the town's pop-up testing centre at Raglan Area School processed 153 tests. On Tuesday, the number of people coming through increased, resulting in 350 tests being processed.
Dubbed an"anti-vaxxer" town, with only 38 per cent of Raglan residents being fully vaccinated, the surfer town on Waikato's west coast is now working on getting rid of that image with rising numbers.
Raglan community board member Chris Rayner says there has been a big vaccination push.
"Those numbers are creeping up nicely and is probably the biggest uptake in vaccines that we've had here for a while... From what I'm hearing, a lot of the hesitant people are now going to get the jab."
It is not only Raglan noting an increased demand in vaccinations and Covid testing; facilities all over Waikato have reported rising numbers.
At the time of writing, 440,126 vaccinations had been delivered in the Waikato, 268,772 of them were first doses and 171,354 second doses. On Tuesday alone, 7154 vaccinations were delivered.
Mobile drop-in vaccination clinics were rolling out all over the region this week with stops including Tirau, Tokoroa, Taumarunui, Te Kauwhata, Raglan and various places within Hamilton.
The clinics will continue to operate; an updated schedule with more dates and places can be found here.
Meanwhile, director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay announced 39 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday of which nine are in the Waikato, including cases in Kawhia and Karapiro. Waikato DHB's Public Health team has also confirmed an individual who visited Waikato Hospital Emergency Department last week has now tested positive.
Kawhia is located in the Ōtorohanga District, outside the current north Waikato level 3 boundary. It is New Zealand's least vaccinated area so far, with only 32.9 per cent of residents having received both jabs. Kawhia itself has a vaccination rate of 36.7 per cent.
Ōtorohanga District mayor Max Baxter hopes for a similar scenario as in Raglan where the outbreak caused an increase in vaccinations.
"Maybe this will encourage people to get vaccinated. In a report that I read, the day before yesterday, it ranked all the councils across the country in regards to both vaccinations. It's terrible that it takes a heightened awareness to inspire people to get vaccinated, but that's the case. As they say, Delta is the virus of the unvaccinated," he says.
The number one town with the highest number of vaccinations in New Zealand is Kaikōura, with 57.5 per cent of eligible residents fully vaccinated. Placing only ninth overall but first within the Waikato is Thames-Coromandel District, with 52.4 per cent fully vaccinated.
While New Zealand has a long way to go until reaching the goal of a 90 per cent vaccination rate, we can celebrate a first milestone with 50 per cent of our eligible population now fully vaccinated - which is almost the same as Hamilton, where 48.1 per cent have received both jabs.
Regarding the amount of testing, the Waikato DHB processed more than 6000 Covid-19 swabs taken from around the region on Monday. That day, Hamilton community testing centres at Founders Theatre and Claudelands Event Centre took a combined 1000 swabs. On Tuesday, a total amount of 5462 tests were taken across the Waikato.
Waikato DHB Māori, equity and health improvement executive director Riki Nia Nia said on Monday the DHB was taking an "all hands" approach.
"Our Claudelands site alone is operating eight testing lanes this morning. We have responded to previous events... but the level of demand for testing this week is far higher than we have seen before."
However, he urges people who are not symptomatic to call Healthline or their GP for guidance before seeking a test.
"It is important that our testing facilities are available to those priority individuals who meet the criteria for testing."
To meet the demand for testing, additional temporary pop-up testing centres were set up during the week at Te Rapa Racecourse in Hamilton, Lake Karapiro, just south of Cambridge, Maketu Marae in Kawhia, Te Whare Oranga in Huntly and at the South Waikato Pacific Island Community Services Trust in Tokoroa.
• To see the list of updated locations of interest click here.
- Additional reporting NZ Herald