The Southern district is probably at its lowest point of risk of Covid-19 since the first case was reported, medical officer of health Dr Susan Jack said today.
Testing of more than 2,500 asymptomatic people, all with negative results, has given assurance that there is no community transmission.
Dr Jack said the lockdown and increased handwashing meant that Southern was heading into an unexpectedly low flu season.
However, opening of schools and workplaces would see flu symptoms start to rise.
DHB chief executive Chris Fleming said he urged people to be cautious.
“We still have the threat of Covid-19 and we need to be vigilant, both within the health system and in our community.
“We have a significant amount of work to catch up on the around 900 surgeries that were postponed and around 16,000 health care interactions that didn’t take place because of Covid-19.”
He said dealing with the virus gave them the opportunity for the increased use of telehealth, effective partnerships with primary care, and the work of the rural hospitals.
Moving to Level 2 will greatly increase the number of people entering hospitals and that needed to be carefully managed, to keep everyone safe, he said.
“We will continue to screen both patients and visitors as they enter our facilities, and we are working on ways to be able to identify who has entered our hospitals and how we can trace them if we need to.
“It means that while rules around visiting will be further relaxed, this is unlikely to start until next week, as we put in place screening procedures for greater numbers of people.”