Wastewater across Taranaki is now being tested for Covid-19 after iwi criticised health officials for ignoring areas outside of New Plymouth.
Two wastewater samples tested positive in New Plymouth last week, which the Ministry of Health said could be either recently recovered cases shedding the virus, or undetected cases in the community.
On Monday the ministry said there was no plan to expand wastewater testing in other areas beyond ESR's regular testing locations in response to the situation in New Plymouth.
But iwi leaders said only testing New Plymouth was not good enough, and the mayor of South Taranaki said testing other towns made sense.
Stratford and South Taranaki districts have now confirmed their sewerage systems are now being sampled for traces of Covid.
South Taranaki District Council spokesperson Gerard Langford said staff helped regional council scientists collect samples from the system serving Hāwera and Eltham.
The health ministry says Inglewood and Waitara pump stations in the wider New Plymouth District are also being sampled.
The Ministry of Health said today that there had been no subsequent detections in previous samples, which are taken and analysed by ESR.
"Daily sampling from the New Plymouth wastewater treatment plant, along with further samples from sites around the Taranaki region, will continue for the next week to determine whether there are any undetected cases in the area."
It comes after Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer slammed the health response as sloppy after a Zoom call between Taranaki District Health Board and community leaders on Monday.
She said the DHB needed to push the health ministry and ESR for wider testing.
"You're Taranaki DHB, you're not New Plymouth DHB – you're there for the whole of Taranaki and the whole of Taranaki is seeking assurance that we are safe," she said
Her iwi Ngāti Ruanui echoed that call the next day, with kaiwhakahaere Rachel Rae saying the iwi had serious concerns.
"Given the population of Taranaki is highly mobile throughout the region it is extremely unsettling to find out that no other regional waste water systems are being monitored for the virus."
"Why are Hāwera, Pātea, Eltham, and Stratford wastewater plants not monitored? Is this a region of two halves?"
South Taranaki mayor Phil Nixon also wanted testing.
"I think it probably is worth doing to reassure the community if that's what they think needs to be done."
A surge of swab-testing people for Covid since the wastewater alarm also has not found any cases in the community.
Taranaki DHB's Covid-19 incident management team controller Becky Jenkins said over the past seven days more than 1000 swab tests had been taken throughout the region, with no positive results.
"Wastewater testing for Covid-19 viral fragments is only one part of surveillance for this infection. The most important part of Covid-19 surveillance is testing people."
Jenkins said the DHB need to test as many people as possible who have symptoms or are recent returnees from Australia, even if they have no symptoms.
"People who have recently been in Australia should continue to check the State websites for locations of interest as new locations of interest continue to be identified."