Positive COVID-19 result detected in Stratford wastewater

5 November 2021

A positive COVID-19 wastewater result has been detected in Stratford, prompting Taranaki DHB to prepare for a surge in testing.

The wastewater sample was carried out by ESR on Monday and could be due to recently recovered cases returning to the region from MIQ who are shedding the virus, transient visitors to the region, or could signal undetected cases in the community.

Taranaki DHB’s medical officer of health, Dr Jonathan Jarman, says it’s very possible there is undetected community transmission with one or more infectious people using the wastewater system in Stratford.

He says “It’s important we do everything possible to try and find a source because we have not linked the wastewater detection to a known active case. COVID-19 testing for the people of Stratford and the wider region is pivotal. The longer it takes to find this person or people the bigger the potential spread of the virus.”

Taranaki DHB, Ngaruahine and Ngati Ruanui health providers are standing up a testing clinic at Stratford’s War Memorial car park on Miranda Street from 11.00am today. Residents are encouraged to get tested if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms, especially those who have been travelling outside the region or been to a location of interest.

Dr Jarman confirms there have been no positive COVID-19 cases or locations of interest in Taranaki so far but warns the community not to get complacent about the possibility of the virus being here.

“We know the Delta variant is highly transmissible, so if the virus is in our community it could be a concern for people who are not vaccinated.”

Stratford resident’s will also be given the opportunity to get vaccinated at Stratford Countdown supermarket and through Ngati Ruanui’s mobile vaccination response today. People are encouraged to get their first or second dose from the vaccination teams.

ESR undertakes regular wastewater testing across the country as an additional surveillance tool in the fight against COVID-19. They will carry out a second test in Stratford today with results expected in 2-3 days.

Dr Jarman says testing and vaccination are our best protection.

“Testing will be key to detecting community transmission and if we get onto it quickly we might be able to cope better if COVID-19 arrives here. But of course, vaccination is our best protection. The higher our vaccination rates are in Taranaki, the less impact it will have on our healthcare services, our businesses, and our everyday living.

“Please remember to be extra vigilant wearing face coverings, scanning in everywhere you go, washing hands or sanitizing, and social distancing as much as possible.”

Testing is offered seven days a week. To find testing locations in Taranaki please visit TDHB - COVID-19. This will be regularly updated over the weekend so please check for up-to-date information.

If you or your whānau still require a vaccination please check out the following:
For a list of local pop-up clinics in Taranaki visit TDHB - COVID-19 vaccine.
For a list of all clinics available in Taranaki visit Book My Vaccine | Ministry of Health NZ (covid19.health.nz)

Last updated: Friday, November 5, 2021

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