The number of coronavirus cases in Matamata has risen to 37, with the cluster linked to a St Patrick's Day celebration.

On Monday the Waikato District Health Board confirmed 23 residents of the town had tested positive for Covid-19. Most of those had attended a March 17 celebration at the Redoubt Bar.

Fourteen more cases of the virus have been confirmed in the past two days, with the total now at 37, the Waikato DHB said.

A cluster has been defined by the Ministry of Health as a group of Covid-19 cases linked together because they have been in the same place together.


As of April 1, the ministry is classifying clusters as having more than 10 cases.

The Matamata cluster is now the second largest in New Zealand, behind the Marist College cluster, which has 50 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19.

An urgent testing centre was set up at the Matamata Civic Centre on Monday.

All swabs taken from Matamata will undergo priority testing.

Focus: How to stop the spread of coronavirus. Video / AP / Mark Mitchell

Two new cases in the Marist cluster were announced today, with the father of a Marist student saying he was turned away from a Covid-19 test twice before testing positive.

The cluster linked to the World Hereford Conference in Queenstown from March 9 to 13 has also increased, with three new cases today taking the total to 27.

Most of these clusters have a link to someone or several people who have travelled overseas recently.

DHB chief executive Dr Kevin Snee said more positive cases will likely appear in the area over the coming days, and a community-based assessment centre (CBAC) has been created in Matamata township.


"Around 200 people have visited our CBAC from when it opened on Monday afternoon to Tuesday evening," he said.

"With testing from the site being prioritised at our local lab we expect to see further positive results."

But Snee said the advice for Matamata residents remained the same: Stay in your bubble.

"We do expect to see the numbers rise in connection to this cluster as those transmissions will have already occurred.

"The most effective way to keep yourself protected and to eliminate it from the community is to stay in your 'bubble' and follow the national guidance during this lockdown period."

Mike Hosking talks to Chief executive of the New Zealand Ministry of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield on how the lockdown may have affected the spread of Covid-19.

Any Matamata residents with symptoms of Covid-19 should contact Healthline or their GP before visiting the CBAC staff for assessment, he said.

"They should inform CBAC staff if they had attended the Redoubt Bar during the previous two weeks, or if they had close contact with anyone who had."

Anyone who visited Matamata in the past two weeks and was now experiencing symptoms of the virus should do the same, he said.

Cars queue up outside a drive-through Covid-19 testing in the Waikato township of Matamata. Photo / Alan Gibson
Cars queue up outside a drive-through Covid-19 testing in the Waikato township of Matamata. Photo / Alan Gibson

"If you do not have symptoms and need to leave home to visit the supermarket, practise good hand hygiene and social distancing."

Sixty-one new confirmed or probable cases of Covid-19 were announced today, taking the total to 708.

Anne Guenole, 73, died of the virus on Sunday, morning in Greymouth, after initially being diagnosed with the flu.

On Tuesday the ministry apologised after identifying in its data release people in two coronavirus clusters.

The two Hutt City clusters were initially named after those infected and published on the ministry website, but that was changed when the mistake was realised.

One of those affected told the Herald they didn't want to be named because they were trying to protect their child.

Clusters of 10 or more cases under investigation - including probable cases

• Marist College, Auckland: 50 cases - 2 in the past 24 hours

• Bar, Matamata: 32 cases - 9 in the past 24 hours

• World Hereford Conference, Queenstown: 27 cases - 3 in the past 24 hours

• Bluff wedding, Bluff: 22 cases - 14 in the past 24 hours

• Group travel to US, Wellington: 15 cases - one fewer in the past 24 hours

• Assisi Rest home, Hamilton: 14 cases - no change

• Boomrock wedding, Wellington: 11 cases - no change The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website