Coronavirus: Waiheke Island locals irate and upset over new COVID case - local board chair

Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley says the new COVID-19 case on the island has "upset people here greatly".

Handley told Checkpoint she first became aware of the case through rumours on the island this morning.

Handley the person had been tested for COVID-19 on the mainland in Auckland, but travelled to the island instead of isolating.

They travelled by the Sealink car ferry and stayed in their vehicle, she said, then went to a residence on the island and had no contact with anyone.

"So there aren't any locations of interest on Waiheke island for us to be concerned about. But I guess, that raises a whole lot of questions about if the person had gone with COVID-19 symptoms and got tested, why they traveled, after they got the test, and why they came here and why they're now allowed to self isolate here."

She was unsure if the person was a resident of Waiheke Island but understood they worked on the North Shore.

"It probably raises more questions than answers," she said.

"Travelling regardless after getting a COVID-19 test is just outrageous." 

Handley said people had told her the person had symptoms since last Thursday.

"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."

However, she did not want to prejudge the situation too harshly. 

"They might be a local, we might need to look out for them, but the community needs to be much better advised."

Limited exposure events

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the Waiheke Island case was a close contact of an existing case in Auckland.

"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.

"There are two general practices on the island undertaking COVID-19 testing.

"As of today, there are 7188 people on Waiheke Island who have had a first dose, and 5829 are fully vaccinated (based on MOH Health Service User data).

"That represents 86 percent of the population (8375) who’ve had at least one dose, and 70 percent who are fully vaccinated."