Testing sites flooded as COVID-19 spreads further across North Island

The tentacles of COVID are reaching further across the North Island.

Rotorua had its first two cases as did the Tararua District. Taupō now has four cases and COVID has been detected in the wastewater in Tauranga and Mt Maunganui.

The mood is far from festive in Rotorua. News of two COVID cases meant a busy afternoon on Sunday for its testing site.

"It's very worrying. Spreading quickly last few days," one person said.

"Little nervous but still optimistic," another added.

The mayor is too.

"We've been saying 'when' not 'if' it will come - so this was a bit of kick in guts but we are prepared for it," Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said.

The Lakes DHB is bracing for more cases with seven close contacts in hospital.

"Two are in ED, both in isolation area and five in medical unit. All have symptoms hence why high suspicions, but test results aren't back yet," Lakes DHB CEO Nick Saville-Wood says.

An hour away in Taupō, testing sites were chocka with the event centre carpark resembling a giant game of snakes and ladders. But this is no game with a total of four cases now identified in the tourist town.

"Gave me bit of fright. Thought Taupō has been pretty good," one person said.

It was a long wait for many.

"An hour and 40 minutes," one person said.

One of Taupō's cases spent seven hours on Thursday night in a strip club. Its owner, Kim Thompson, who didn't want to appear on camera, says the Ministry of Health told her at 6pm on Saturday night.

"We closed immediately, have to put the club in deep clean. Reopen on 25th," she said.

Further down the country there are two positive cases in the Tararua District, catching some in Ekatahuna off guard.

"Well first of all I wasn't aware of it," one person said.

But people in Palmerston North were definitely aware.

"Yeah pretty nerve-wracking, a bit too close to home really," a member of the public said.

Tararua District Mayor Tracy Collins said it was a reminder of "how close and how easily transmissible this virus is".

"We have testing stations operational in the district at the moment, in our three major towns," MidCentral District Health Board's Adele Smith said.

The message is get swabbed and jabbed - because Delta is marching south.