Two new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in managed isolation today. One tested positive after being transferred to an Auckland hospital from MIQ.
But the Ministry of Health says infection and prevention controls were in place at the hospital to ensure the safety of health workers and the public.
“Health services are readily available for all managed isolation guests to ensure their health needs are met, and protocols are in place to manage the welfare and safety of staff and the public. The public can be assured hospitals are safe to visit,” the ministry said.
The person was taken to hospital with a non Covid-19 related condition. The person’s routine managed isolation test returned a positive result while they were in hospital.
Officials also provided an update on the Hamilton community case, revealed yesterday.
“High CT counts and serology results for the border-related Hamilton case indicates the case is most likely historical and not infectious. Whole-genomic sequencing results have been inconclusive and will be rerun.”
The public health risk, according to officials, is still considered to be low.
Meanwhile, the final 60 returnees at the Pullman Managed Isolation Facility have completed health checks and are being released today.
Officials say the facility is not taking any new returnees and will be deep cleaned as per infection prevention and control protocols.
They reiterated returnees have to further isolate at home for five days and return a negative test on day five after leaving the Pullman.
The returnees have to wear a mask when leaving the hotel or going for their day-five test, the ministry said.
They will be contacted daily by health professionals for health and wellbeing check-ups. If they become symptomatic after leaving the facility they are advised to call Healthline immediately.
“These interim measures will be in place while a previously announced review is undertaken into how transmission occurred in the Pullman Managed Isolation Facility and the emerging evidence of Covid-19 variant.”
The review “will look at the Pullman in its entirety” a ministry spokesperson told the Herald today.
The ministry said it was continuously reviewing the managed isolation and quarantine system, as well as the border settings.
“These are our first line of defence to minimise Covid-19 entering New Zealand communities.”
The new numbers today mean there are 66 active cases in New Zealand.
Yesterday, 4044 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 4005 tests processed.
The NZ Covid Tracer now has 2,557,477 registered users and, since midday yesterday, New Zealanders have scanned 548,317 times. The seven-day rolling average number of scans is 935,006.
The person from Hamilton tested positive on their fifth and final day of self-isolation.
Director of public health Caroline McElnay told reporters yesterday the person – who was asymptomatic – had been transferred to the Jet Park quarantine facility in Auckland.
She had a “high degree of assurance” the case was well contained because the person had remained in self-isolation for the full five days, she said.
The person only had two close contacts – two housemates – who had tested negative for the virus.
The new Hamilton case is the fourth person to test positive for Covid-19 after isolating at the Pullman Hotel.
So far, only one other person has caught Covid-19 as a result of being in contact with the cases – the mother of a toddler who was staying at the Pullman with her father.
There has been no community transmission as a result of the positive case.
McElnay to yesterday say that officials were “scratching our heads a little” about it.
“[What] we are seeing is slightly different from what we might expect – certainly if you look at what’s been happening in Australia,” she said.
“What we’ve seen from overseas is these new variants could lead to an increased number of community cases. We are seeing with this very small numbers have been infected in the facilities.”
When talking about why there have been no community transmission cases as a result of the Pullman cases, she said: “We don’t know if that’s luck but we certainly have very strong systems to be able to rapidly respond.”
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