Wed. May 18th, 2022

The Department of Health has announced a new Covid case with a person in the Bay of Plenty this evening. Video / NZ Herald

The Ministry of Health has confirmed a positive Covid result for a person in the Bay of Plenty.

The person lives in Pukekohe and is in the process of moving to a rural area north of Katikati.

The test was taken yesterday in Auckland.

The test result has a high CT value that is usually seen in the early or late stage of infection and is under further investigation, including a repeat test, the ministry said in a statement.

The infected person has been given an exemption to cross the border in and out of Auckland as he is about to change houses.

As part of this, the person has had regular monitoring tests – at least five tests have been taken since the beginning of September, the most recent previous test was 5 October. All five of these tests were negative.

The person who returned the positive result is fully vaccinated and has not reported symptoms other than seasonal hay fever.

The ministry said the person is a consistent user of the Covid tracking app, and initial information has identified sites of interest in Katikati and Pukekohe, with details to follow.

All family members have been contacted and are currently isolating, with results from tests expected tomorrow.

The current public health assessment is that the risk appears low given the person’s vaccination status, regular test history, good use of the app and quick contact, testing and isolation of family members.

Western Bay Mayor of Plenty, Garry Webber, said the health department called him about half an hour before the news broke and his first reaction was “oh ***”.

“That’s what it is. It’s the last thing any district wants, let alone our district. Nobody wants it in their backyard … it’s here.”

Webber said the boundaries around Level 3 areas were “pretty leaky”.

He would “reluctantly” support a move to level 3, but said the decision was in the hands of the government.

“We will go with the flow.”

“If this is in our society, then this is what we need to do.”

He understood that the person had used the tracking app.

His message to the Katikati community was, “If in doubt, take a test, but go without vaccination.”

Just under half of Katikati residents are fully vaccinated, according to the ministry’s suburban data. It reveals that 49.5 percent have two doses and 77.5 percent have one.

Tauranga-based National MP Simon Bridges took to Twitter, saying he had “concerns” that someone could get a travel exemption for moving house, while others who wanted to visit dying relatives were unable to travel.

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller said “the bay will hold its breath”.

He urged everyone connected to Katikati to get a test and for everyone in the region to be calm and “vaccinate, vaccinate vaccinate”.

“We’ll get through this.”

Pop-up test sites open tomorrow in Bay of Plenty at:

Katikati Medical Center, 4 Clive Road, 8.30-16.30

Katikati Rugby and Sports Clubrooms, Fairview Rd, Katikati 8.30-16.30 (hours extended if there is high demand)

Tauranga Accident and HealthCare, 19 Second Avenue, 8.00-18.00

Former

There are 34 new cases of Covid in the community, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there is no evidence that the case that sent Northland to level 3 is linked to Mongrel Mob.

Of the new Community cases, 31 are in Auckland and three in Waikato – all cases in Waikato are linked, while 11 cases in Auckland are not yet linked. There are five active sub-clusters that are not epidemiologically linked.

The government moved Northland from alarm level 2 to alarm level 3 in a sudden announcement last night after a woman in Auckland who had visited Northland tested positive for coronavirus.

Covid

Jacinda Ardern said today that there was no “evidence” in support of any of the allegations circulating around the Northland case.

Speaking to several media outlets today, former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters claimed the woman had gang connections and traveled through Auckland’s border to the Bay of Islands and back.

He said there are more details that officials know and should have been made public.

But Ardern said there was no “evidence” to back up some of the claims circulating online, and the government did not withhold important information.

“Since we have had information about their movements, we have released them. But this is a case where the individual despite the involvement of the police has not been present and therefore we have taken a very cautious approach and it was the right one.

“What we know from video and CCTV footage is that the person in question was traveling with a woman. We know that the place where they lived during that period has also confirmed that they were traveling with a woman. And the person who has been implicated through some of what social media chats have even confirmed that they were not in the Northland region.

“My understanding is that the police have identified this person and are working hard to find them.”

In a statement, Covid-19 defense minister Chris Hipkins reiterated Ardern’s comment that there was no evidence that the covid-positive woman was being helped across the border into northern Norway by Mongrel Mob.

He said police were involved and CCTV footage showed the positive case raised with another woman – which was confirmed by staff at the Comfort Hotel Flames in Whang─ürei.

Police have identified the other woman but had not yet found her.

“The person who is rumored to have been with her has stated that he was not in Northland,” Hipkins said.

“I have not been informed of the occupation or associations of the case.”

Today’s previous cases

There are a total of 26 people in the hospital: North Shore (3), Middlemore (13), Auckland (8), Waikato Base Hospital (1), Palmerston North (1). Seven of the 26 people are on intensive care or high-dependency units.

The Herald understands that the case at the Palmerston North hospital is a truck driver in Auckland who tested positive and has isolated.

74 percent (31) of yesterday’s cases had exposure events in the community.

A total of 85,757 vaccinations were administered yesterday – of which 32,051 to Aucklanders. Of the total, 18,568 were first doses and 67,189 second doses.

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