A Covid-19 data modeller warns the virus could be anywhere in the country after news an Australian traveller who visited Wellington over the weekend had tested positive.
Two close contacts of the Australian traveller are in Tauranga and have returned initial negative tests but Professor Michael Plank says it is still early days.
"Of course, lots of people around the country were travelling to Wellington at the weekend and it is quite possible that someone else could have been infected at one of those locations, or on a plane.
"It could be anywhere in the country really."
While it had not yet been confirmed, Plank said it was highly likely the Australian traveller had the Delta variant of the virus - which is said to be twice as transmissible.
"We've seen cases in Sydney for example, where they have seen it on the CCTV footage, the virus has actually spread from one to another just when they walk past each other in the mall.
"They wouldn't even know that they've been in contact with that person."
Despite the Bay having two close contacts, Plank said Tauranga had the same risk of developing community cases as any other part of the country.
"If the people in Tauranga had tested positive that would obviously elevate the risk but testing negative is reassuring.
"There are no guarantees and it's quite possible with the other exposure locations."
Meanwhile, demand for Covid-19 testing in the Bay of Plenty had "already" risen, Bay of Plenty District Health Board incident controller Trevor Richardson said yesterday.
The DHB opened an extra community-based Covid-19 testing station at Trustpower Baypark Stadium on Truman Lane in Mount Maunganui yesterday.
"It is critically important we are testing those who are most at risk from Covid-19 first, which includes people who visited Wellington last weekend.
"If you weren't at a location of interest in Wellington over the weekend, or, you do not have symptoms, you're unlikely to need a test."
Richardson said the testing centre is open from 9am to 5pm today and was for Covid-19 tests only.
"People won't be assessed by a doctor onsite. No booking is required but there is likely to be a wait."
The greater Wellington region moved into alert level 2 at 6pm on Wednesday and will remain at that level until 11.59pm on Sunday.
Four close contacts were linked to the Australian traveller - two in Palmerston North and two in Tauranga. There are no locations of interest in either city.
A Ministry of Health spokesperson said on Wednesday the two Tauranga contacts had returned negative initial tests.
"Their movements in Tauranga are not being traced because they are not Covid-19 positive cases at this stage."
The spokesperson said the two contacts flew to Tauranga from Wellington but their flight was not being contact traced because they had returned negative initial tests, showing they weren't infectious at the time.
"They are required to isolate for 14 days and get tested on day 5 and day 12."
What to do if you have visited Wellington
In the first instance, people who have Covid-19 symptoms, or who visited one of the locations of interest in Wellington, are asked to call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or contact their doctor.
If people had been in the Wellington region over the weekend, they needed to take the alert level restrictions with them. For example, they should not go to big gatherings.
What to do if you are a contact
For contact tracing purposes, anyone who attended one of the locations of interest during the relevant timeframes is considered to be a contact.
- The full location and address details
- Date and the relevant times
- The instructions on 'what to do'
- Still unsure? Contact Healthline for advice on 0800 358 5453.
- a new or worsening cough
- fever (at least 38C)
- shortness of breath
- a sore throat
- sneezing and runny nose
- temporary loss of smell
Western Bay of Plenty
An extra community-based testing station is at Baypark Stadium, open 9am to 5pm.
No appointment needed.
The Healthpoint website lists many medical centres in the Western Bay of Plenty that offer testing services.
Eastern Bay of Plenty
52B King St (Portacom outside Med Central, behind Adamson's pharmacy)
Opening hours this week:
Thursday and Friday: 3.30pm-7.30pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am-5pm
Kahukura Rugby Sports Club, 1475 Pukuatua St,
Open 9am-3pm Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.
No appointment needed.
79 Miro St, Taupō.
Open 9am-3pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday
No appointment needed.