Additional case, second household in Nelson Covid outbreak

Source: 1News

A probable Covid-19 case has been announced in the Nelson region, in addition to the two new cases confirmed on Monday.

Covid-19 test (file photo).

Whole genome sequencing is yet to confirm the variant, but the cases did attend events in Auckland, and are classed as part of the January Omicron outbreak.

Dr Stephen Bridgman, medical officer of health at Nelson Marlborough Health, said all three are household contacts in a separate household to the one which has been previously reported where there are 10 confirmed cases.

"A probable case within this new household has also been identified. The person has yet to return a positive test but has symptoms consistent with Covid-19,” Bridgman said.

The DHB is encouraging those in the region to get tested, especially those with Covid symptoms, no matter how mild, as there may be undetected cases.

Lexie O'Shea, chief executive of Nelson Marlborough DHB, said testing is "incredibly important" with Omicron around.

"We’ve watched what's happened overseas and we understand this is a very transmissable variant and we have to be super, super cautious in regards to getting testing and getting information out to the public."

Greenwood Medical Centre in Motueka is one of the Covid locations of interest in the region. It’s linked to a suspected Covid case with the person visiting on Friday January 21 from 11.40am-1.45pm.

Naomi Rosamund, clinical manager at Greenwood Health, told 1News it was “distressing” to find out about being a location of interest, but she remains optimistic as they had been “preparing for it for quite some time”.

“So we have HEPA filters and precautions like you wouldn’t believe, we’ve probably gone a little bit over the top and I think that's been to our benefit,” she said.

“One of the main measures that we have put in place today that is a marked change from our usual is that we do have our patients waiting outside the building. We’ve provided them with an undercover outdoor space and seating, socially distanced of course, to try to reduce the number of people who come through the practice both for their sake and for ours as well.”

Rosamund encouraged those in the region to get tested, and vaccinated if they hadn’t already.

“It is a really tough time and as per Jacinda the other day, I really recommend everyone get vaccinated and get a booster if you haven’t already. Vaccinations in Motueka are not the highest in the region and so I would really love to see higher rates of vaccination occurring.

“Testing if you’re at all symptomatic, go and get a test. It’s really important that we catch this as quickly as we can to put rings around it.”

In terms of general wellbeing, Rosamund said it was important for everyone to “be nice to each other”.

“It’s hard enough as it is at the moment, we don’t need any further aggression. And to every that’s been so supportive thank you, we really do appreciate it.

“It’s not ideal to be a medical centre in this day and age. Especially now being at the epicentre, and a location of interest but it’s just something that we’re taking in our stride.”

The whole of New Zealand moved to the Red setting of the traffic light system at 11.59pm on Sunday night due to Omicron beginning to spread in the community.

It was confirmed on Sunday morning that new cases in Nelson and Tasman were the Omicron variant.