A man who was in New Plymouth for work last week is now in isolation at the Auckland quarantine facility after testing positive for Covid-19.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the man, with four household contacts, had been shifted to the Jet Park quarantine facility.
The man, a ports worker from Auckland,
tested positive on October 16. He sought
a test on the day he developed symptoms.
"We have been able to move quickly," Bloomfield said today.
The man, in his 20s, drove to
Port Taranaki on October 13. As he drove
by himself, he had a limited number of close contacts, said Bloomfield.
In New Plymouth the man worked at a ship and spent the night of October 13 at the Devon Hotel. On October 14, he checked into the Quest Hotel, but then drove back to Auckland that night instead. He stayed home on Thursday and was tested within a few hours of developing symptoms on Friday.
Both New Plymouth hotel rooms where he stayed have been deep cleaned.
The man used masks and gloves when working at the port, and the only people he interacted with were security and people on the ship, Bloomfield said. The man's work, in electronic maintenance, meant he went on ships often for several hours. Bloomfield said the public could be confident measures around ports were strict, including requirements around PPE and regular testing regimes.
The man had four negative tests as part of regular screening testing, and was due for another one on Friday.
"We are constantly looking at and learning and strengthening our border measures," Bloomfield said.
Asked if there was any consideration of regional lockdown, including New Plymouth, Bloomfield said there wasn't.
The risk to people in New Plymouth was very low, as the man had limited interaction with people there.
Bloomfield said the source of the infection was likely to be border related.
"So far there is no evidence of any onward community transmission."
The Ministry of Health will release the names and details of places and areas the man was, and pushing out notifications via the Covid tracer app.
Dr Rob Weir, on-call medical officer of health for Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB), said although the risk to the Taranaki community was low,
he urge people not to wait if they had symptoms and needed a test.
"Everyone in New Plymouth should remain vigilant for any symptoms of Covid-19, and get a test as soon as you can if you become unwell. Testing quickly means we can reduce the risk of the virus spreading and that puts us in a good position to put a circle around any outbreak."
The TDHB is continuing to provide access to testing for border workers and pop-up testing will be available at Port Taranaki this week in addition to the weekly surveillance that has been taking place over the past few months.
At this stage priority testing is for people who are considered close contacts, port workers and anyone in New Plymouth who is showing symptoms.
Dr Weir says people should also use the Covid Tracer App as part of their daily routine, continue with hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette.
"We must be vigilant around good health hygiene practices and this includes the recommendation to use masks on public transport and flights. Remember, alert level one is not alert level none."
Priority groups can access testing at the Base Hospital community testing centre
and Medicross Urgent Care & GP Clinic in the Richmond Centre.
Testing will also be available next week in New Plymouth, Waitara, Hawera and Opunake. Check the
For more information on the positive case, go to the Ministry of Health website https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/3-new-cases-covid-19-11