Nine close contacts of Christchurch cases found

Source: 1News

The Ministry of Health has confirmed two positive cases of Covid-19 in Christchurch.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday morning they were notified Wednesday evening of two positive cases from a single household in Bishopdale. Both were unvaccinated.

One member of the household, a woman in her 50s, had recently returned to Christchurch from Auckland. The ministry said the person travelled to Auckland to provide childcare and was there for five days. 

The woman who went to Auckland tested negative for Covid-19 before travelling, and returned a second negative test before they returned to Christchurch on October 15. 

She became symptomatic on October 18. 

The case wasn't considered infectious when they travelled back to Christchurch.

The second case is the woman's partner, a man in his 40s. He is a truck driver and was working for four days while in their infectious period.

He started experiencing symptoms on October 20.

"Initial information indicates the person was completing deliveries around the Christchurch area, with some trips to north Canterbury," the ministry said. 

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

Both cases are now in a quarantine facility in Christchurch. 

The Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said nine close contacts to the two cases had been identified so far across three households. 

All are isolating and being tested, Bloomfield said. 

He said the two cases visited two households on October 19 and 20. 

"There were people there who were from a couple of other households ... they are the only close contacts that have been identified because after that they were both feeling quite unwell and laid low at home.

"That's why one of the key inputs into our advice, at this stage, about the need not to go up an alert level is that the number of close contacts is relatively small, they know who they are, and they're being tested and isolated." 

Bloomfield said a wastewater sample taken on Tuesday of the Christchurch catchment, which covers about 300,000 people, was negative. 

“This rules out that there is a reasonable number of cases there but, of course, it may not detect one or two additional cases,” he said.

Speaking to media on Thursday afternoon, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said vaccination requirements for people travelling regionally were "under active consideration". 

But, he said the requirement wasn't already in place because it “adds an extra layer of complexity” to the movement of goods. 

Hipkins told Breakfast on Thursday morning both cases were unvaccinated and were "not particularly good users of the Covid-19 tracer app".

"One of the things the team is working through is working with them to identify where they've been and who they may have had contact with."