April 06, 2020
Fears supermarket could spread virus
The chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāpuhi is disappointed at how the owner of the New World Kaikohe supermarket has responded to a staff member getting COVID-19.
The Northland District Health Board put out an advisory on Saturday advising people who had shopped there during the previous 10 days to get tested.
Mere Mangu says the rūnanga scrambled to open its community-based assessment centre on Sunday to allay people’s fears.
But she says the supermarket seems to be taking the community for granted.
“They would never do this in Khandallah. They would never treat their customers like this as if we don’t matter. They would have fronted up to us and told us something. Well, I’m waiting for Foodstuffs to contact us and come clean about what it is because to me, it’s not enough to fumigate a store and say ‘it’s all good now, come back in,’ and carry on business as usual,” she says.
Mere Mangu says the supermarket draws customers from both coasts and throughout the mid-north, so it’s worrying to think of it as a place the virus could be spread.
Northland DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Catherine Jackson says the management and team at New World Kaikohe have taken all the necessary precautions to provide a safe environment for their customers.
She’s recommending people only get tested if they show signs of COVID-19, including an acute respiratory infection and cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, head cold, or loss of sense of smell with or without fever.
She says people can get a false sense of security if a test comes back negative, which is why it's best to wait for symptoms.
More than a third of the tests in Northland have been for people who identify as Māori.
As at Saturday there were 14 cases in Northland.
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