Update on Northland COVID-19 case, and 6 cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation
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Posted January 25, 2021
Media Release: Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health can today confirm that the woman who recently travelled from overseas and completed their stay in managed isolation in the Pullman hotel in Auckland has subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
The woman and her only close household contact are isolating at their home south of Whangarei.
The Northland District Health Board Medical Officer of Health has undertaken an assessment of the case and their close household contact, and it has been determined that the pair are currently able to isolate at home. The situation will be monitored closely to ensure there is no public health risk.
Following a further interview with the woman, contact tracing has now found the woman has 15 close contacts. All 15 close contacts have been contacted by health officials, are self-isolating and have been tested.
Of the 15 close contacts, so far two have returned negative test results.
Whole genome sequencing results for the woman have confirmed that she has contracted the South African variant, B.220.127.116.11.
Advice from the World Health Organization on this variant continues to be monitored. Currently there’s limited epidemiological data available on the B.18.104.22.168 variant, making it harder to study. The preliminary concern of this variant is that the mutation affects the body’s immune response to it and its transmissibility.
New forms, or variants, of the virus have become increasingly common around the world – and it is expected to see them here in New Zealand.
Link to managed isolation
Whole genome sequencing has linked the case to another guest who was in the managed isolation facility. Their genome sequencing results are identical, leading health officials to suspect a managed isolation facility transmission.
Early information suggests the transmission occurred between 9 January and 13 January.
Routine testing picked up COVID-19 in the other guest, and this person was transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility on 13 January.They have been classified as recovered and were due to be released but will be asked to stay on for now.
As expected, there have been other cases in the same Managed Isolation Facility and the Ministry of Health is investigating any possible links between cases to exclude transmission within the MIF.
COVID Tracer app notifications and Bluetooth
COVID Tracer app notifications were issued last night to more than 160 people who visited locations of interest and used the COVID Tracer App.
People who were in the vicinity of the person and have enabled Bluetooth functionality on their app have started to receive notifications.
Public Health clinical staff made calls to the businesses at the locations of interest last night to provide public health advice. Additional followup is happening today.
Community testing stations
Northland and Auckland health officials have worked to provide additional testing sites in the area that the woman went to after leaving managed isolation.
There is high demand at community testing centres in Northland currently. It is important that anyone who went to a location of interest around the same time of the case, or may be showing symptoms, is prioritised to get a test.
For anyone that has not been to a location of interest but is concerned, contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or call your GP to see if you need to have a test. Please remember to stay home if you are unwell, maintain stringent hygiene practices, including washing and drying your hands and cough or sneeze into your elbow.
6 cases in managed isolation today
There are 6 cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation to report in New Zealand since our last media statement yesterday. Please see table below.
Twenty previously reported cases have now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 64. The total number of confirmed cases is 1,932.
The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,489,913.
On Sunday, 2,678 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 3,451 tests processed.