A Matamata woman has endured a nerve wracking 8-day wait for coronavirus test results.

The woman, who only wants to be known as Jessica, says that while she didn't attend the St Patrick's Day party at the Redoubt Bar - which authorities believe is the epicentre of the cluster - she did attend a local cafe each day.

That cafe, O-Del-Emz on Arawa St, has seen one, possibly two, of its staff contracting the virus.

That party at the Redoubt has seen a cluster of cases to grow to 61 as of yesterday; one of the largest in New Zealand.

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Overall, the country now has 1106 cases of Covid-19, however 176 of those people have recovered.

The staffer at the centre of the Matamata cluster hasn't commented publicly, saying they preferred to let the information come from the Ministry of Health.

Kelly Henderson, owner of the Redoubt, didn't want to talk either, telling the Herald, "I'm afraid that we'd cause more harm than good purely from lack of knowledge".

"We are just hoping for the absolute best result for our beautiful community. It's heartbreaking and scary on so many levels."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website


Earlier, she said her staff member was recovering well.

"Young and healthy seems to be the key," she said.

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The owner of O-Del-Emz, Derek Farrelly, declined to comment when approached by the Herald last week but posted on social media that one of his staff had been confirmed with Covid-19.

Unfortunately in the hospitality industry, like many business, we work alongside and in close contact with workers,...

Posted by Derek Farrelly on Friday, 27 March 2020

Jessica told the Herald she had no issues with the cafe. However, she was concerned at the apparent laid back response to her repeated queries about where her test results were.

"I think that Jacinda [Ardern] is great and they're doing what the should be doing, although they should have [gone into lockdown] earlier, but I think it's rather concerning, especially when you live in Matamata in a cluster and you go for your tests to be done and it's 7 days now and I haven't got any results back.

"A friend of mine who went 2 days after me, she got hers on Friday and when you contact anyone, they're all like 'oh yeah, they're just coming through randomly', or 'oh you just have to wait'.:

She'd contacted both Healthline and her GP twice.

After talking to the Herald today, she again contacted her GP and was finally given her results - negative - to much relief.

"I went the first day it was set up and they said 2 days and I thought 'hmm, that might be a bit optimistic' but when it got to like the third or fourth day that's when I started contacting people."

Her cause for concern was her parents for whom she is the dedicated carer and shopper.

Both are over 70 and have complicated health conditions.

"They can do stuff, they're not helpless, but they rely on me to help them and I've been isolating myself away from them but we sat down and spoke about it as a family on Friday and they said 'just come back'.

"I'm just being precautionary because of my parents. I'm not worried about me so much and am probably an extremely low possibility of picking it up but you just don't know."

A ministry spokesperson said the average turnaround time for a test result was 24 hours, the spokesperson said.

"We are confident however that the case numbers reported each day by Dr Bloomfield reflects the actual number of results.

"We recognise that as testing numbers have increased over the recent week, the time taken to deliver results may be slower on occasion. We apologise for that and would like to reiterate that our focus is always confirming positive results as a priority, followed by negative results."

Generally the time taken to get a test result needed to include the time taken for samples to get from the testing centre to the lab as well as the time taken to process the swab, then the time taken for the result to be communicated from the lab to the referrer, GP or Public Health Unit and then onto the patient.

"It's also important to stress that anyone waiting for a test result should self-isolate."

The spokesperson advised people to keep in touch with their GP if they haven't heard back regarding their results.

"This is because if the test result is negative, the result goes back to the primary care provider or GP."