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Tairāwhiti cases all related to offshore travel

16 Apr 2020

Tairāwhiti cases all related to offshore travel

Mayor Rehette Stoltz is again encouraging people to stay home to save lives after a new probable COVID-19 case has this afternoon been announced for Tairāwhiti.

However, Tairāwhiti continues to be ahead of the curve as the District Health Board with the lowest number of cases to date. For quite some time Tairāwhiti sat on just a single positive case, which was announced in late March before the latest cases came this week.

Today’s announcement brings the total to four confirmed or probable cases for the region. Two of these are related to international travel before the lockdown, with the other two having close contacts to international travellers. All four have strictly adhered to the self-isolation protocols and none are connected to the repatriation flight. Hauora Tairāwhiti say there is no evidence of community transmission in Tairāwhiti.

The latest case is a woman in her 40s who has been in strict self-isolation since before the lockdown, having not left her property at all, and had no close contacts outside her bubble. Her efforts drew plenty of praise from Mayor Stoltz. “She took all the right steps in self-isolating correctly,” she says. “All of the Tairāwhiti cases have done the right thing by their community and we applaud that. We wish her a speedy recovery.”

Mayor Stoltz said those who are getting tested are true heroes. “While our testing rates continue to grow, and particularly in recent weeks, we still need to do more. If you have any symptoms at all, please do get tested.”

Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of smell and taste. Contact your GP or go to the War Memorial Theatre Assessment Centre in Bright Street between 1pm-3pm for walk-ins – the centre is open between 9am-5pm for those referred by a GP; Te Puia Hospital Assessment Centre between 9am-4pm; and the Waikohu Clinic at Te Karaka. Te Puia and Te Karaka centres both need to be called first through the usual numbers.

Civil Defence and Emergency Management group controller Dave Wilson says the people of Tairāwhiti need to take the lockdown seriously. “Stay home,” he says. “The only reasons for people to be on the roads are for picking up groceries or medication, to see medical specialists, or if they are essential workers. This is about all of us protecting each other.

“We need to stop the spread of the virus and the only way to do that is to stay in our bubbles.”