Positive Waiheke Island case travelled by ferry, isolating at their home

Emma Russell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Oct 2021, 3:22pm
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Positive Waiheke Island case travelled by ferry, isolating at their home

Emma Russell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Oct 2021, 3:22pm

A person who tested positive for Covid in Auckland travelled to Waiheke Island by ferry and is self-isolating at their home, a local medical centre has revealed.

As of yet, no one has become infected with Delta on the island and one local board chair says this case was of "great significance" as the community was small and the virus would spread quick.

However, health authorities say the Covid case was 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 a ferry to the island from Half Moon Bay 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 this afternoon, the ministry said 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.

Local board chair Cath Handley told the Herald this was of "great significance" as Waiheke Island was a small community of less than 10,000 which meant it could spread very quickly.

"That is why I was keen to get this information out quickly so people can protect themselves."

She said she couldn't reveal her source but said it came from an official health authority and was "extremely confident" that all information she had shared was correct.

In a post on Facebook, Handley said: "You may have heard that Waiheke has a positive case of Covid-19. 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."

She couldn't provide any further information until details had been provided to via the ministry, Auckland District Health Board or Waiheke Medical Centre.

"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."

Handley said most speculation would be inaccurate and could be "really harmful" to others in the community.

"Please don't pass on rumours of that nature that you've heard."

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.

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 yesterday 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.