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Fifteen Covid-19 Cases In Southland, Second Queenstown Nurse Tests Positive

Mar 31, 2020
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There are 15 new confirmed Southern DHB COVID-19 cases.  This is made up of 9 new reported cases on 30 March, and 6 new reported cases on 31 March.

The total number of Southern cases is now 98. This includes 97 confirmed cases and one probable case.

This means Southern DHB has the highest number of cases in the country.

Image: Southern DHB

Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.

There is also a new COVID-19 cluster related to a wedding in Bluff.
These figures include confirmed and probable cases.
All clusters are being investigated by public health officials.

Significant clusters in NZ – as at 9am 31 March 2020
Clusters under investigation Location Total to date New in last 24 hours
World Hereford Conference Queenstown 24 5
Bluff wedding Bluff 8 3

A cluster is where there are a group of COVID-19 cases who are linked together because they have been in the same place together.

There are some clusters of cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. Most of these clusters have a link to someone or several people who have travelled overseas recently.

We know transmission can happen more quickly where people gather together. This is why it’s important for everyone to practice physical distancing.

Public health staff quickly follow up confirmed cases as soon as they are identified. They also work to contain clusters and prevent the disease from spreading any further.

Thirty-eight more staff at Lakes District Hospital are being tested for COVID-19, following a second nurse testing positive for the disease.

The nurse was one of 36 staff who were tested yesterday, and one of 15 ‘close contacts’ of the nurse whose positive test result was confirmed yesterday. All close contacts are required to remain in self-isolation, while the 21 casual contacts who were tested yesterday are now able to return to work.

The additional tests mean all 74 staff who have worked at the facility over the past 14 days will be tested, as the Medical Officer of Health seeks to understand how the nurses became infected and rule out community transmission from within the workforce.

Any of these staff deemed to be close contacts of the second case are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days, effective immediately.

During the testing process, the Hospital will continue to operate its emergency department, and its maternity unit, which has now been relocated to another building on the site.

Patients requiring hospital admission will be transferred to another facility in the district. Yesterday, the only two patients in Lakes Hospital were discharged home following the decision to undertake extensive cleaning of the hospital.

The second nurse only had very mild symptoms, and attended work for one shift while infectious. All close contacts, including four patients, are being followed up and asked to self-isolate.

Our thoughts remain with the staff members involved, and those in our care who have been affected by this situation.

We are continuing to support both nurses and their wider teams at this stressful time. Again, we thank everyone for their support of all our staff, and continue to ask that their privacy is respected as we work together to address the impact of COVID-19 in our community.

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