Auckland has seen a surge in Covid cases with 94 reported today – the highest daily number since the pandemic arrived in this country in March last year. A total of 87 are in Auckland and seven in Waikato.
A Waiheke Island official is questioning why a person who allegedly tested positive for Covid-19 in Auckland was able to travel to the island by ferry is now allowed to isolate at their home.
It follows confirmation today that the Hauraki Gulf luxury getaway has recorded its first confirmed case of the Delta outbreak.
Local board chair Cath Handley told RNZ it was “outrageous” that the person travelled to the island on Sunday by ferry from Half Moon Bay before getting their test results back.
She said it raised a lot of questions about whether the person had gone with Covid-19 symptoms and got tested, why they travelled after they got the test, why they came to the island and why they’re now allowed to self isolate there.
“There are questions that need to be answered for our community, like how many people are in this particular house, how is this being monitored and who’s doing that … who’s supervising this and ensuring this person, who has already travelled from Auckland to Waiheke, what guarantees do we have that this person will not just walk around the community and do some shopping for themselves.”
She was unsure if the person was a resident of Waiheke Island but understood they worked on the North Shore.
No one had yet become infected with Delta on the island but Handley said the positive case was of “great significance” as the community was small and the virus would spread quickly.
However, health authorities say the Covid case is considered low risk.
The Herald has asked the Ministry of Health whether authorities were aware the person had tested positive in Auckland before they boarded the ferry to the island at the weekend, and is awaiting a response.
In a post on Facebook, Waiheke Medical Centre said the case was not detected or tested on the island and did not contract the virus while on the island.
The case travelled via Sea Link on Sunday October 17 from Half Moon Bay to Kennedy Point in their vehicle, the post said.
“The case went directly to their residence and has had no contact with anyone. There are no locations of interest on Waiheke Island for the community to be concerned about in relation to this case,” the post said.
Earlier today, Handley told the Herald the positive case was of “great significance” as Waiheke Island was a small community of less than 10,000 which meant the virus could spread very quickly.
“That is why I was keen to get this information out quickly so people can protect themselves.”
In a post on Facebook earlier today, Handley advised people of the positive case saying: “For most of us that will be a shock, but perhaps not a surprise. I can confirm that I know there is one confirmed case and that it’s not a rumour.”
“I’m writing now because all over the island people are talking about this to each other, and much of that is speculation about who, how many and where they live,” she wrote.
She urged the community to be mindful of each other and not to elevate anxieties for people who were loved and respected.
“In particular please let’s watch out for the needs of children around us, as they need safety and good Covid protocols, but not to be fearful,” Handley said in the post.
The ministry has confirmed a person on Waiheke Island had tested positive for Covid.
They are a close contact of an existing case in Auckland, a ministry spokesman told the Herald.
“Auckland public health officials are interviewing the case and initial case scoping suggests limited exposure events. As of Tuesday afternoon, no locations of interest have been identified,” he said.
As of today, there were 7188 people on Waiheke Island who had a first dose, and 5829 were fully vaccinated.
That represents 86 per cent of the population (8375) who had at least one dose, and 70 per cent who were fully vaccinated.
There are two general practice clinics offering vaccinations on Waiheke Island – Waiheke Medical in Oneroa and Ostend Medical in Ostend, the ministry said.
Both clinics opened for Super Saturday and local businesses got behind the event, providing prizes and free food and drink for those who got vaccinated.
Earlier this month, the Herald reported residents of Waiheke Island being in two minds about keeping their slice of paradise sealed off from Auckland day-trippers.
Two weeks ago, Ministry of Health issued an alert level 3 update stopping Aucklanders from visiting Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Islands, but allowing residents to visit the city.
At the time, one resident, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution, said anger was boiling over at the local board pushing for a border without consulting anyone.
“The island is in turmoil. Residents who do not have the means or money are cut off from their family in the city. Businesses who’d been hoping for a small boost with travel being permitted throughout Auckland have been denied this opportunity. Bach owners can’t even travel over for the day to check on their property,” the resident said.