Testing of more than 200 seasonal workers in Te Puke should be "reassuring" for the community, Western Bay mayor Garry Webber says.
Covid-19 testing of about 250 seasonal workers in Te Puke began today following a confirmed case that had a connection to an accommodation setting.
Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said testing was to be completed this afternoon with results of at least some of the tests being announced tomorrow .
He said one of the recent positive cases was involved with a kiwifruit hostel and the root of the infection had not yet been identified.
"One of our cases there has an association, but did not interact directly, with the hostel in Te Puke."
Close contacts of this person had all tested negative, he said.
Bloomfield said he felt it was important to test all of those staying in the accommodation and the testing was happening "at pace". The wide spectrum of testing was to ensure there had been no community transmission around the confirmed case.
He said workers were not isolated as they were all in the same bubble, which had been maintained throughout level 4 and the testing was precautionary.
Webber said the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (DHB) was taking every measure to ensure there was no further community spread of Covid-19.
"It should be reassuring to the community that the DHB has gone way above what is the normal expectation and, hopefully, the community really appreciate the lengths they have gone to," Webber said.
"They [the DHB] have gone wider, to make sure there is no community spread, and I am pleased they have seen an issue in Te Puke and taken a proactive attitude. We have to get ahead of this and, in my opinion, they are well ahead."
The DHB's incident management team's incident controller, Bronwyn Anstis, said the source of transmission for the recent positive case did not appear to relate to overseas travel.
"At this stage of our investigation, Toi Te Ora Public Health has not confirmed where the individual contracted the Covid-19 infection."
Bay of Plenty DHB interim chief executive officer Simon Everitt said in a statement this was part of the Ministry of Health's approach, offering testing more widely to specific groups or settings that might be identified at higher risk, helping to determine if there was any community spread.
These seasonal workers were associated with a recent confirmed case through an accommodation setting, Everitt said.
However, Everitt said there was no evidence that this group had been exposed and there was no illness reported in the group.
"It is important to note that the recent confirmed case does not work in a post-harvest facility.
"The seasonal workers staying in the accommodation are not considered to be close contacts."
The temporary assessment clinic was set up within the accommodation and was only for the people staying there, Everitt said.
Guidance from Toi Te Ora Public Health was that the group would not need to be off work.
"If anyone does have possible Covid-19 symptoms, then that individual, like any other essential worker, would be required to stay off work until they receive the results of their test and the further relevant advice," Everitt said.
"We are working closely with the group's employers and associated industry organisations, to ensure appropriate wrap-around support services are available for them, before and after the testing."
The DHB did not answer further questions regarding what the connection between the positive case and the accommodation provider was, what role the positive person had in the kiwifruit industry and if further testing would happen around Te Puke.