Health officials are responding to a new case of coronavirus in the community in Northland.
It is understood that the case involved a woman who was released from the MIQ facility about five days ago. Arrivals are tested on about the twelfth day of their 14-day stay in managed isolation and can leave if the test is negative.
But it is possible that she was infected at the facility after her last test and was incubating Covid when she left.
There is no MIQ facility in Northland. The person would have stayed in Oakland, Christchurch, Hamilton or Wellington.
Hepkins and General Manager Health Ashley Bloomfield will provide more details at a beehive press conference at 4 p.m. today.
The last case of community transmission in New Zealand was on November 18.
Professor Michael Blank, the designer of the Covid-19 model, said it was possible that the virus passed from one infected person to another in a managed isolation facility.
“One of the dangers that we have always known about is the arrival of a person infected with the virus, but then they pass it on to another person in quarantine, perhaps near the end of their stay,” said Blank, from the University of Canterbury and T.
“This is one of the possible ways for the virus to leak. I am not saying that this is what happened in this case, but it is a possibility, because it is unlikely that a person will incubate the virus for this period of time.”
University of Auckland professor of medicine Des Gurman said health experts will strive to test a person’s connections.
“What is required now is not only to test people who have been in direct contact such as family members etc. – but also to start encouraging people to come and test them collectively so that there is some reassurance that there are no other conditions in the community.”
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said there is still no evidence of an actual “transmission” of community in Northland. It is still likely that this is a border issue.
In the Covid Update today at 1 p.m., the Ministry of Health announced there have been eight new Covid cases in managed isolation since Friday.
The cases came from South Africa (2), the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, the United States (2), Ethiopia and India. Four traveled through the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
The ministry said one previously reported case had recovered.
Tests have so far revealed that 36 people have arrived in New Zealand with highly contagious strains of the virus since their appearance late last year: 29 people of the British type and seven of the South African type.
In the past two weeks, another 17 people in quarantine facilities have been infected with the variants.
The whole genome sequencing identified 11 samples from the B.1.1.7 (known as the UK variant) and six samples from the B.184.108.40.206 (known as the South African variant).
The ministry has warned that the strains will continue to appear in managed isolation facilities across New Zealand.
The government has introduced pre-flight tests from most countries to reduce the number of people arriving at the border with Covid-19. People are being tested for Covid on the day of arrival, as well as day three and day twelve.
There are currently 79 active cases in quarantine and the total number of confirmed cases is 1927.
The total number of tests processed by laboratories so far is 1,487,234.
The average turnover for the seven days as of yesterday is 3,335 tests processed.
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