Media advisory #27

21 April 2020

The Ministry of Health has today announced a probable case of COVID-19 in the Whanganui region. This is the ninth confirmed or probable case in the region since the outbreak of COVID-19 started.

The probable case lives in the Whanganui district and is a family member of the confirmed case reported on Friday, April 17.

Both these recent cases are in the same household bubble and are following self-isolation restrictions. They are being monitored by public health and do not require hospitalisation.

Dr Patrick O’Connor, Medical Officer of Health, said this indicates infection transmission within the household bubble, but the original infection source is still under investigation.

“There have been no close contacts recently outside the household, and there is no reason to think anyone else has been infected,” he said.

“Today’s case is classed as ‘probable’ because the swab result is inconclusive and there has been close household contact with a confirmed case. We are awaiting further tests.”

These two recent cases are not linked to the seven other cases in the Whanganui region, all of whom have recovered.

Whanganui District Health Board will provide more information about this case as it becomes available.

Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson said the latest cases reinforced the importance of complying with Alert Level 4 restrictions to slow the spread.

“Now is the time to be more vigilant than ever. Stay at home, stay in your bubble and if you are sick, call your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453, or visit a community-based assessment centre (CBAC) in the region,” Mr Simpson said.

“The Whanganui District Health Board is seeing increasing numbers of residents presenting to one of the CBACs for assessment.”

Yesterday, Monday, April 20, a total of 135 people were swabbed, the highest daily number since testing commenced.

“In total, we have tested 981 residents and encourage anyone to come in for assessment if they have a runny nose, sore throat, or cough,” Mr Simpson said.

“The expansion of the case definition by the Ministry of Health and liberal interpretation of this by the CBAC teams has resulted in a larger number of people being swabbed for Covid-19 over the past two weeks.”

 

The following CBACs continue to assess and test people for COVID-19:

· Whanganui – Whanganui Hospital campus, 100 Heads Road – 8am to 9pm, seven days a week

· Whanganui – Gonville Health, Abbot Street – 9am to 4pm weekdays

· Whanganui – Te Oranganui Medical Centre, Wicksteed Street – 8.30am – 5pm weekdays (for those enrolled with Te Oranganui Trust services as well as other Iwi organisations and services)

· Taihape – Taihape Health – 9am to 4.30pm weekdays

· Ruapehu – Raetihi Community Space, 42 Seddon Street – 9am to 4.30pm weekdays

In the Rangitikei district, people with symptoms should contact Stewart Street Surgery, 26 Stewart Street, Marton, phone 06 327 8884; or Bulls Medical Centre, 71 High Street, Bulls, phone 06 322 122. For further information on COVID-19, go to https://covid19.govt.nz/

Or for the local response go to the Whanganui District Health Board website.

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