The number of Covid-19 cases in the Bay of Plenty remains unchanged today but a mental health worker is among those with the virus.

There are 45 confirmed and probable cases in the Bay of Plenty District Health Board area, which includes Tauranga and Whakatāne.

There are 16 cases in the Lakes District Health Board area, which includes Taupō and Rotorua.

In total, 18 are active and the remainder have recovered.


The cases include a mental health worker at Tauranga Hospital who tested positive for the virus a few days ago.

The nurse who was working at the adult mental health unit at Tauranga Hospital, Te Whare Maiangiangi, is recovering at home and the 21 staff members who were in contact with her have been stood down and are in self-isolation.

Bay of Plenty DHB acting chief executive Simon Everitt said the nurse became symptomatic midweek and was tested at a local community-based assessment centre on Thursday, with the result confirmed Friday night. She had not been at work since developing the symptoms.

Patients who had contact with the nurse have been tested for Covid-19, including 14 patients who are currently being cared for on the ward and three who have been discharged. They have all been told to self-isolate.

The unit has now closed and new patients are being diverted to Whakatāne Hospital or a hospital within the Lakes District Health Board. Meanwhile, staff working on the ward would continue to use appropriate PPE as recommended by the Ministry of Health.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told reporters this afternoon he had been made aware of the positive test in Tauranga on Friday and had been given an update on the steps the DHB was taking.

Bloomfield said the transmission between staff reflected that colleagues in the hospital were working at close quarters and it was much harder for them to keep their physical distance.

"What it points to is making sure all those measures are in place - physical distancing, but also really good hygiene, hand washing and availability of appropriate use of PPE."


However, the three or four layers of protection used by staff weren't always failsafe and that's why the Ministry of Health had a low threshold for testing staff who were symptomatic and why the ministry was going "very hard". Staff who may have been in contact with someone with Covid-19 were being stood down and tested.

Bloomfield today confirmed there had been nine new coronavirus cases in New Zealand and one new death, bringing the total number of deaths to 12.

The man, in his 70s, died in his Invercargill home on Tuesday night and was linked to the Bluff wedding cluster, he said.

The new cases are made up of four confirmed cases and five probable cases, bringing the total of cases nationwide to 1431 - 1098 confirmed and another 333 probable.

Of the 1431 cases, 912 people had recovered from the virus.

Bloomfield said across New Zealand, 131 healthcare workers were confirmed or probable cases of the virus. Half were infected in the workplace and 43 have recovered.


Bloomfield said 18 people were in hospital, including three in ICU and two in a critical condition.

More than 4100 tests were processed in New Zealand yesterday.

At 4pm tomorrow the Government will announce when the level 4 lockdown will be lifted.

- Additional reporting Nikki Preston The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website