Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Plague Diary Season 3 Week 16

Day 14+7+85, December 1. 146 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty. One new/four active in Nelson; none (new) elsewhere on the South Island. 72% of population and 86% over 12 double-jabbed. Vaccination of kids 5-11 "may" start in late January.  

So, Nelson. Case 1, 2 and 3 are close contacts. C1 was out and about for quite a while before getting tested, so sequencing is under way to see where they got it in the first place. C4 is not linked, and has a large circle of close contacts. 
 
A (legal) brothel in Nelson is among the Locations of Interest; Ben and I did not know there were such an establishment, in the middle of town, by the road we traverse all the time, so we actually looked it up. I learned a few years ago about a strip club, but did not know it was a brothel as well. By the way, they are hiring. 

Nelson Mail, our local paper, listed local Locations of Interest for the first two days, but they may have stopped it. This is a problem because the government site's search is incomplete; with keyword "Nelson", not all locations appear; using the neighbouring "Tasman", nothing appears. I wrote to the Mail. I suppose I should check which ones are missing, and ask the Ministry to amend so they come up in the "Nelson" search, shouldn't I, because... I do have the time, I suppose... as a good citizen... Crikey.
 
I don't remember how long ago it was, but when I deseeded a tomato, I placed the seeds on a paper towel to dry, because last year I saw so many internet info on how to start a tom plant for free. They sat there, on the piece of paper towel for weeks? months? until it turned into one thin, brittle, seed-cracker-like object. It was too early for toms, and I had no pots. Seven days ago, ever hopeful, I cut the cracker into smaller pieces and put them in soil and newly freed up pots, and whoa!! It's the most generic tomato from the supermarket, I don't know if it has a fancy name, but we may not need to buy seeding this year. Also... acid-free and fancily-named cherry toms, here we come. 
Day 14+7+86, December 2. Hold on tight, or go straight to the second last paragraph. 
 
172 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes. New Plymouth, on the North Island, had their first three Delta cases and three schools will be closed tomorrow. 10 new/14 active in Nelson, plus another already known for tomorrow, but nobody is in hospital. 0 elsewhere on the South Island. 73% of population and 86% over 12 double-jabbed.
 
You realize today's was supposed to be the last entry for this season. Instead:
* Two new cases were discovered last night, (counted as today's,) both staff at two local schools; one was infectious since November 23 while at school, the other, (a close contact to a known case,) since November 29; both schools are closed today for contact tracing. 
* The first school staff's role involves work around the campus, and they may have been a casual contact to any of the 555 students. 
* Staff from the second school has around 10 staff and 20-30 students as close contacts according to the principal. One parent from one of the school said they were not told which staff this is, so they can't determine from their end if their kids are close contacts. Many other schools had low attendance today.
* A bakery near the first school mentioned is the newest location of interest; from memory there is at least a high school not too far away, if not more schools, but I could be wrong. 
* Bloomfield said this morning Nelson won't go into Red at midnight, but Orange. He also said Nelson is unlikely to go into lockdown due to high vax rate, but in all data we've found last night, (as of just about the time the "first" case came up,) we've been below average. Folks have been rushing to get jabs since.  
* Nelson/Tasman folks are rushing to get tested and jabbed. As of Wednesday, 84% of Nelson over 12, not whole population, and 83% of neighbouring Tasman have been twice-jabbed. 
* Marlborough will help us by providing eight testing staff; their boss is one Beth Tester. Really. Marlborough has had a very high vax rate throughout.
* Nelson has two clusters, one with 11 and another with three cases, and they are looking to see if the two are linked.
* Nelson Marlborough Health Board heads had a press conference in the afternoon, but nothing new was offered. We still don't know where the case/s came from; if we are looking at the top or tail end of the spread. Nelson's wastewater hasn't shown anything, but the Health Board boss did not know how often water was tested... three months into Delta cases, she mumbled.
 
Though I do go on about Nelson, Waikato has not managed to reduce new case numbers, and there have been a few locations of interests in Wellington, including the airport, and Christchurch, though neither city has new cases. 

I don't know why cases are popping up now, instead of after December 15 when travel in/out of Auckland becomes freer. Locations of interest includes a lot of stores where Christmas shopping might have been happening. I do wonder if this is going to drive folks back to online shopping.  
 
Ben's present to himself arrived today. It's a manual espresso machine, and it works like a citrus juicer. It would look great in an architectural minimalist kitchen, instead of our crowded 1960s homey version, and we don't know where it's going to live, but he's happy, so I'm happy. Next time you come over, your coffee may be... squeezed out of this contraption.  

In an hour, we'll be in Code Orange.
Day 14+7+86+1, December 3. 92 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Taranaki and...1 new/14 active in Nelson, (don't ask me about this math, I'm only copying.). 0 new in the rest of the South Island. 73% of population and 87% over 12 double-jabbed. We are in Code Orange. There is a dichotomy, in the press and real life: general elation on the one hand, and somber caution considering the inevitable increase in cases; we belong to the latter. 
 
Anyhoo: 
* No new significant locations of interest, except the discount (?) stationary store where I get my everyday art supplies. The Ministry will no longer be listing low-risk locations of interest on their websites because... Traffic Lights.
* Nelson case/s origin/s are still unknown. Testing has increased, and some folks waited over four hours to get tested. 
* Nelson's Saturday Market will be closed until further notice. It's something like the oldest, continuously running market in Aotearoa NZ.
* Deputy PM Robertson reiterated Nelson will not be going into Code Red; our outbreak doesn't worry much concern.
* Remember the two schools that closed yesterday? The one with the staff who worked for a week before testing is going online for the remainder of the school year, i.e. two weeks. The other is reopening Monday.
* Wastewater testing has increased to three time/week in Nelson and up to two/week in Richmond and Tasman. Doesn't say how often they were done previously. 
* Richmond, Motueka and Golden Bay Santa Parades cancelled. Nelson postponed but the new dates was not announced; possibly early next year.
 
There have been lots of cities/districts achieving 90% of eligibles getting double shots, so congratulations to them!! Last night I saw a chart predicting when the districts are expected to achieve 90%, and we were just before Christmas; Ben said that's an improvement because a short while ago we were looking at January. So, thanks, cases?? 

Seeing how many seeds germinated from one humble supermarket tomato, every time I cut into one I'm racked with guilt I'm throwing away valuable natural resource, but we have more seedlings than our space allows if a tenth of what germinated survives, so I'm so sorry, seeds, but you're going into the compost bin. Interesting how we never got seedlings growing in the compost bin, although we have had pumpkin seedlings and an avocado tree growing inside once. 
 
Also, Aotearoa NZ's newest Must Visit place is nearly open.   
Day 14+7+86+2, December 4. 98 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, 1 new/15 active in Nelson, and... 1 in Canterbury to be included tomorrow. 73% of population and 87% over 12 double-jabbed. An established cafe in town was added as a high risk location of interest. But there has been no further information about any of our cases or links. Around the country there were anti- demonstrations again, including in Nelson. 
 
It rained most of the day. We were tired, and didn't do much. I didn't even take a picture of anything, so here is a piece I wove in 2015, one I often think of as one of my most favorite.
Day 14+7+86+3, December 5. 106 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Whanganui, and Canterbury; this Canterbury case is linked to Nelson case/s, and two more will be added to tomorrow's numbers. 0 new/15 active in Nelson. No new information, except the old cafe added yesterday was by error! 74% of population and 87% over 12 double-jabbed. 

Rain again, but nowhere near as bad as the forecast. I kept stepping outside to see if I can weed, or if it was going to bucket down again, because I was actually keen to, and in retrospect I think I could have in the afternoon. But, I read the last of my favorite YA author's book I have; Hardinge doesn't have another coming out until next year, but I have so many interesting books, and a few YA novels, so... no need to save this, right? 
Day 14+7+86+4, December 6. 135 in Auckland, Waikato, and Canterbury, the last being connected to Nelson case/s. Nelson: no new today but four more to go into tomorrow's numbers/19 cases including the latest four/one in hospital/one recovered. Of the 19, only two were fully vaccinated. One Nelson cluster's origin is still unknown, another may be linked to a North Island cluster, and one case not linked to either yet. Nelson's libraries will require vax pass; they are also working on a click-and-collect service. For now Tasman libraries do not require the pass. 74% of population and 88% over 12 double-jabbed. 

For friends outside Aotearoa NZ, a little bit of clarification. Nelson can mean the city, or the region that extends southwest. Neighbouring Tasman is a huge region to the west and northwest, and includes the oldest national park, Abel Tasman, and the second biggest, Kahurangi. The boundary between these regions is about ten minutes west of us, and many people live in one and go to school/work in the other. Marlborough is to our east, and includes the oldest (I think) wine producing region. Blenheim, in Marlborough, is 1.5 hour away over some hills, and 1.5 hours away on more or less a flat, straight road to Christchurch; while working there back in the 90s I sensed an umbilical cord reaching Christchurch. These three regions together form the Nelson Marlborough Health Board, so when it comes to Covid, we three regions at the top of the South Island are grouped together.
 
And depending on the season and the weather, Nelson is the kind of place where you can go kayaking and skiing on the same weekend. Or possibly the same day. Too bad we're the kind that miss the eateries, galleries, theatres and used book shops of Wellington rather than take advantage of our locale. 
 
On the other hand, butter chicken is doable. Ben likes Chooza Tikka, (<>Tandoori Chicken,) so we grill the marinated pieces and that's the end, but me, give me butter chicken any day.
Day 14+7+86+5, December 7. 98 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki. Five new/20 active cases/one in hospital; none on the rest of South Island. One of the new Nelson cases in Nelson is another school staff, who was already in home quarantine. Northwest of Tasman has below 70% of eligible folks double jabbed, and this is our Health Board's next focus. Nationally 74% of population and 88% over 12 double-jabbed.

A Department of Conservation hut in Fiordland, (a very simple self-serve accommodation for multi-day tramping) is now a high risk location of interest for now; this is linked to a border case. This is a remote hut, even by NZ standards. Apparently.

Around the country anti-vax people continue to demonstrate largely with impunity They disrupted/cancelled children's cricket match, they are forcing shops to close on Saturdays while they demonstrate. One man threatened others with a knife when ho couldn't produce a vax pass. But just generally casting gray clouds over the country.

Meanwhile, I weeded for nine hours today and cleared a tiny patch. This is the maple tree on which the new leaves come out red, and gradually turn yellow green, above the lavenders after a hair cut to make them all more or less the same height, even though it's not exactly good timing. Didn't get to butter chicken. (Don't worry, the chicken went back to the fridge after the pic.)

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