Daily Covid tests available

Te Awamutu Testing Centre

Te Awamutu remains among Waikato centres continuing to operate daily Covid testing sites.

Ōtorohanga, Hamilton and Te Kuiti also have pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating as they report new cases daily.

But in Cambridge business leaders are calling for the town to drop down to level 2 with the bulk of New Zealand as fully vaccinated rates close in on 90 per cent.

Waipā has leap-frogged Hamilton to lead the region’s vaccination rates with 91.5 per cent of the eligible population having one dose and 80 per cent fully vaccinated.

The last active case in Karāpiro, linked to other known Hamilton cases, dropped off Waikato DHB’s reporting late last month.

When level three restrictions eased a little last week, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce urged retailers to put tables and chairs outside their shops but a Police Covid taskforce then reportedly threatened businesses with closure if they took their trade outside.

Police did not to answer a specific question from the News about the taskforce’s visit but did say they continued to have “high visibility” in communities by conducting reassurance patrols across Waikato.

They were “educating” members of the public and businesses around the new rules “some of whom were not aware of the alert level changes,” a police spokesperson said.

Taupo MP Louise Upston

Taupō MP Louise Upston, who lives in Cambridge, had already written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking her to explain why the town was still in level three but reacted furiously at the weekend when told about the outside furniture ban.

“Have we become a Police State now?”

Upston’s office said yesterday they have not had a response from Ardern or the police.

Cambridge Chamber chief executive Kelly Bouzaid said the regulations about tables and chairs “make no sense.”

“We are trying to comply and accept the rules, but they keep changing.”

By Wednesday, as The News went to press, there were 35 active cases in Hamilton, 21 in Te Awamutu-Kihikihi, 23 in Ōtorohanga, two in Kawhia and one in Te Kuiti.

The first Cambridge case was reported in Karāpiro more than a month ago.

The DHB closed its Cambridge Community Vaccination Centre at the community marae 22 days ago saying the town was so well vaccinated, local providers could complete the programme.

People can still be vaccinated at Cambridge Medical Centre and Unichem Family Health Pharmacy.

In Te Awamutu vaccination centres are open at Unichem Marshalls Pharmacy, Te Awamutu Medical Centre, old Bunnings Building and Sanders Pharmacy.

The nearest testing centres are in Hamilton, at Founders Theatre, Claudelands and Te Kōhao Health and in Te Awamutu at the Te Awamutu Events Centre Carpark between 10am-2pm.

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