No new NZ covid community cases as Tauranga port workers get tested

Port of Tauranga
Port of Tauranga ... covid testing under way of 21 crew on board the container ship Rio De La Plata and about 100 workers who had contact. Image: RNZ/Port of Tauranga

RNZ News

New Zealand has two new cases of covid-19 in managed isolation and quarantine and two historical cases today, says the Ministry of Health says — but no new cases in the community.

In a statement, the ministry said 10 previously reported cases had now recovered.

This morning, 11 of the 21 crew on board the Rio De La Plata container ship off Tauranga were revealed to have tested positive for covid-19. One test result is currently indeterminate.

Officials had said they expected to know after further testing how many cases were historical and how many were active.

In today’s statement the ministry said testing at the Port of Tauranga was under way for workers who had contact with the container ship.

“The crew have been informed of the positive covid-19 test results and, as of Monday morning, crew members on board are reported to be well,” it said.

“Officials have worked with employers to identify 94 port workers who had contact with the ship, unloading cargo in shifts over the four-day period it was berthed at Port of Tauranga from 6pm on Wednesday, 4 August, to 2pm on Saturday, 7 August.

All contacted, told to isolate
“All have been contacted, told to isolate awaiting a negative covid-19 test result, and are being tested for covid-19 today. So far, 91 workers have been tested, as of 11.30am. The first results are expected later today.”

The ministry said some workers would require a second test, based on their contact with the ship, and would also be required to remain in isolation until the result of those second tests were known.

“The ministry understands from local public health staff that all infection prevention controls, and PPE protocol, were followed by port workers who had contact with the ship during their duties.”

Meanwhile, the Mattina remained in quarantine at a secure berth in Bluff, the ministry said.

As of Monday morning, 13 of the original 21 mariners remain on board the vessel.

The ministry said that on Saturday, five mariners were released after 14 days in managed isolation. These mariners have consistently returned negative covid-19 test results.

One mariner, who was transferred off the boat at a later date, remained in a managed isolation facility in Christchurch, it said.

Two further mariners discharged
“Two further mariners, who both required hospital care, have been discharged, and are in Southern DHB-arranged accommodation where their health can continue to be monitored and treated. The ministry understands from Southern DHB that the mariners are recovering well.”

On returnees from Australia, the ministry said it was continuing to remind anyone who returned from Queensland on return flights last week to keep checking locations with the Queensland Health website and monitor for any symptoms.

“If people have been at a location of interest at the relevant time, they should immediately isolate at home or appropriate accommodation and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing. New locations of interest have also been added for Victoria and Western Australia.”

The ministry said contact tracing staff had also identified 2995 people who returned on managed flights from Victoria between July 25 and 30 and had been required under a section 70 notice to isolate until a negative day 3 test.

Of those 2848 had so far returned a negative test; six have returned overseas and don’t need to be followed up; and 91 have been granted a clinical exemption, it said.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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