Positive Covid case in Kawerau

updated By Te Ao - Māori News

Four new cases are being reported today in the Bay of Plenty, including one case in Kawerau. 

"The person based in Kawerau is a close contact of a previously confirmed case, and has been in isolation for the past week," the Ministry of Health said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

"The DHB has also been working with local providers in Kawerau to provide more testing capacity for the town. Additional testing is available today until 6pm and again from 10 until 6 tomorrow at the Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, Ron Hardie Recreation Centre carpark in Kawerau."

In a further media release Saturday, Toi Te Ora Public Health, the public health unit for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes Districts Health Boards, indicated that this was Kawerau's first case.

"Kawerau District Council confirms that a Kawerau resident has tested positive for Covid-19. This is the first case in the current outbreak from Kawerau."

Toi Te Ora said Investigations are continuing and that any locations of interest would be released to the Ministry of Health’s website, which is updated regularly.

Dr Phil Shoemack, Toi Te Ora's Medical Officer of Health, said it is important that people get a Covid-19 swab if they are experiencing symptoms

“Testing is important to help contain further spread of the virus. It is also important to continue following other health measures at all times, including wearing face coverings, using the Covid-19 tracer app, practising good hand hygiene and maintaining distance from others.

“The spread of Covid-19 into our Bay of Plenty districts is an important reminder of the need to get vaccinated. Getting fully vaccinated helps protect yourself and those you love against Covid-19," Dr Shoemack said.

All four new Bay of Plenty cases have been linked to previously confirmed cases.

Death of a hospital patient
The ministry is also reporting the death of a patient in hospital in Auckland, saying "Our thoughts are with their whânau and friends at this very sad time."

"Sadly today we are reporting the death of a patient with Covid-19 at Auckland City Hospital.
"The patient, who was in their 80s, was admitted to hospital on 17 November."

New cases
The ministry says there are 145 new community cases of Covid-19 in Aotearoa today. In addition to the Bay of Plenty cases, there are new cases in Auckland (127), Waikato (13) and Canterbury (1).

There are also two new Northland cases today, both in Ruakaka, which will be officially added to Sunday's case numbers as they were reported after the 9am cut-off today, the ministry said.

Six of the new Waikato cases are in Te Kūiti, three in Huntly, two in Hamilton, one in Te Kauwhata, and one in Ōtorohanga. "All are under investigation for links to previous cases."

Omicron variant
The ministry provided an update on the new Omicron variant, which is raising concerns internationally.

"Health officials are currently assessing the latest international information on the new B.1.1529 variant which the World Health Organization has named Omicron.

"This particular strain is in its infancy and as with any emerging developments to do with Covid-19 we are closely watching and monitoring evidence and countries’ responses."

The ministry said it was confident Omicron's impact could be minimised in Aotearoa. "We remain in a good position to minimise the impact of any new variants with isolation and routine testing of international arrivals."

Seventy-seven people are in hospital, with 14 in North Shore, 28 in Middlemore, 31 in Auckland, three in Waikato and one in Rotorua.

Eight patients currently require intensive care or high dependency unit care - seven in Auckland and one person in Rotorua.