Northland residents urged not to panic after supermarket worker tests positive for Covid-19

A Northland community is being urged not to panic after a local supermarket worker tested positive for Covid-19.

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With a high Māori population, the town of Kaikohe is considered particularly vulnerable to the virus. Source: 1 NEWS

Northland health officials told shoppers at New World Kaikohe between 20 and 30 March to keep a close eye on their health. 

One resident called it “a big wake-up call”. 

Rhonda Zielinkski-Toki, who was testing people at the community testing centre, said it was time to stop being complacent when it came to the virus.

“I think people were just concerned with the information that had come out about New World because a lot of people had been shopping there and they just needed to be reassured they were safe,” she said.

However, officials have been quick to reassure the community. 

The Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said today: "This infection is spread by droplets, and so I think people can be confident shopping there, particularly if this person is now in self-isolation.”

New World Kaikohe told 1 NEWS that as soon as they were alerted, team members were told and tested as a precaution. The supermarket said these staff would not return to work until their test results came back negative, and that they had done a deep clean of the store overnight.

Far North District Council Mayor John Carter said people had to be careful “not just for ourselves, but for our friends and family and our community and, indeed, our nation”.

Kaikohe, known as the heart of Ngāpuhi, is considered particularly vulnerable to the virus due to its high Māori population.

There are 14 cases in the Northland DHB region, 13 confirmed and one probable.

Across Northland to date, 1047 tests have been taken. 

The local community testing centre saw 153 people yesterday. Of those, 23 have links to the New World Kaikohe case.

Māori account for 33.9 per cent of the Northland population.