Saturday, November 27

Covid-19 Community Cases in Christchurch: More Information Revealed


One of the two positive cases in the Christchurch area is a trucker who was on the job for four days during his infectious period, completing deliveries around the city, with some trips north of Canterbury.

Chris hipkins

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Health Ministry said the two community cases were from the same household.

At this afternoon’s 1pm press conference, where it was revealed that there were 89 new community cases today, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that the government has decided to keep the Christchurch area at its level. current alert 2.

He said one of the cases recently traveled to Auckland to provide child care. Travel to provide childcare is allowed under alert level 3 if no other suitable person is available locally.

The person who traveled to Auckland had a negative test before traveling north and a second negative test before returning to Christchurch on Friday, October 15.

The other case works as a truck driver and the company the person works for is helping to track their whereabouts during the four days the person was working during their infectious period. Initial information indicates that the person was completing deliveries in the Christchurch area, with some trips north of Canterbury.

Both people felt unwell last week, they were tested on October 26, and both tested positive last night. There are currently three households where nine close contacts have been identified.

Both cases are currently isolating home security, with public health oversight and with plans in place to transfer them to a local quarantine facility.

The local public health unit is gathering more information from the cases to identify close contacts and exposure events, including places of interest.

People throughout Canterbury are urged to closely monitor thesites of interest website, which is periodically updated.

Also, people in Canterbury, especially those living in Christchurch, with any symptoms, no matter how mild, are asked to get tested, even if they are vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are urged to get vaccinated.

Testing and vaccination sites are available throughout Christchurch. Check the Healthpoint website for locations.

No sewage samples taken in Christchurch on Tuesday and Covid-19 were detected. ESR is collecting more samples from Waimakariri, covering Rangiora, Kiapoi and Woodend, and Ashburton, in addition to more tests in Christchurch.

Hipkins said the government was looking at whether there should be vaccination requirements for people traveling on flights between regions.

Earlier today, Hipkins said that the two cases in Christchurch are not vaccinated and that use of the Covid-19 Tracer app has been low.

Hipkins said Morning report “The nature of your Christchurch contacts will be established in the morning and then we will have a little more information to share, but these cases came quite late last night.

“My understanding is that they haven’t been well for a while, so they could have been symptomatic and infectious for a period of time while they were back in Christchurch, so that’s one of the things the contact markers will work on. As top priority this morning: Identify exactly what the nature of the potential Christchurch exhibition is. “

“Until last night that identified another home so far that the person had had contact with … but hopefully we will know more in the next few hours.”

The impact of their low Covid Tracer app usage “would ultimately depend on exactly how long they’ve been in the community, you know, if they haven’t been feeling well, they may have stayed home for much of that period. . of time.

“If they’ve had a significant amount of movement within the community, then the fact that they haven’t kept records makes it more challenging because it’s human nature that everyone will forget things.”

The couple appeared to be cooperating with authorities so far, he said.

According to figures from the Canterbury DHB, 89 percent of people in the region have received their first dose and 68 percent are fully vaccinated.

Hipkins said it was fine.

“Once those kinds of rates are reached, that starts to have an impact on the spread of the virus.”

But the cases illustrated why there were still restrictions on the South Island, he said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the two Delta cases were the wake-up call her city feared.

Dalziel said Morning report It was disappointing that the couple did not scan QR codes and were not vaccinated.

Seeing the damage a case in Auckland caused, people needed to be extremely vigilant, he said.

He wanted stricter border requirements for people leaving blockaded regions.

Christchurch-based National Party MP Gerry Brownlee backed a move toward shutdown, if it was the only way to contain a widespread outbreak.

“What we have now is the reality of a possibly greater restriction that we have enjoyed for a long time and I hope the Ministry (of Health) in their consideration is sensible, and that the people of Christchurch … continue to use the QR Codes, use masks and, when appropriate, distance (socially), “he said. Morning report.

However, before a blocking decision is made, I would like more information on the pair’s movements.

“I think you should be pretty sensible if you decide that the whole province or the whole city should be shut down, or just rely on the fact that we have increasing vaccination rates … I really hope there is a sensible analysis of what the risks are. “.

No title

Gerry Brownlee.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Epidemiologist professor Michael Baker said the new Christchurch cases were expected, but nonetheless worrisome.

“Some people felt that this virus was inevitable in this outbreak, which was spreading across the country, including the South Island.

“We’ve already seen how easy it is for a case to travel from the North Island to Blenheim recently, so it was probably expected, but obviously it was a big shock.

“If there is only one case in a household member, contact tracing should work very well. The bigger problem is how many other cases are incubating in the South Island, given that we have very few controls on infected people who go up to flights at this time.

“One of the problems, of course, is that a high proportion of people will be asymptomatic or have only a few symptoms, the occasional person will also be vaccinated now, so it is quite difficult to detect all these outbreaks very early.” so it is essential that people present themselves if they have any symptoms.

“I think if the outbreak is well defined, so it’s just the person who has traveled to Christchurch and their household members, it should be very manageable with contact tracing and the usual methods.

“I think it wouldn’t be necessary to raise alert levels in Christchurch if contact tracing sets a really good boundary around it.

“I’m sure the risk assessment they are doing now will be very comprehensive, and that will give us an idea for this case. I think the bigger question is how many other cases the South Island is incubating.”

There were “many precautions” that could be used to keep the virus out of the South Island, Baker said.

“The first thing is to limit the number of people who travel to the South Island from infected areas to essential workers, for example.

“The other thing is at least a basic check before people board flights, especially if they come from an area that is under level 3 restrictions where there is considerable transmission and potentially there should be a requirement for pre-trip testing. , I think there should be a requirement for vaccination more and more. “


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