Covid-19: Hauraki movement now restricted

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

Movement in, out, and around northern Hauraki is now restricted as a precautionary measure, following three local cases of Covid-19 reported on Sunday night.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield issued a new direction under section 70 of the Health Act requiring those who may have come in contact with these cases, to get tested, and isolate at home until 11.59pm Friday, September 24, or otherwise advised by a Medical Officer of Health.

Bloomfield says the health order also applies to anyone who has already been contacted by Auckland Regional Public Health Service or contact tracing teams and been informed they are a contact.

“The dispersal of potential contacts across the region increases the potential for wider transmission of Covid-19.

“We consider this health order to be a prudent measure while contact tracing and testing is underway to rule out any wider spread.”

This direction applies to any person who, at any time, since Wednesday, September 8, has:
·        resided in the northern Hauraki area;
·        visited a household, location, or attended an indoor gathering in the northern Hauraki area; or
·        worked in the northern Hauraki area.

Under the section 70 notice, these people are required to do four things:
1.        To isolate at their usual home, except to go for testing;
2.        Monitor the locations of interest list, and contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or complete the location of interest form if they have been at a location of interest, for advice about testing;
3.        Monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 and contact Healthline for advice on getting a test if symptoms develop; and
4.        To remain isolated at their usual place of residence until 11.59pm Friday 24 September or otherwise advised by a Medical Officer of Health.

“The ongoing public health risk of the highly transmissible Delta variant is high, and these restrictions are designed to prevent the spread of the virus to other parts of New Zealand – ultimately to keep the whole country safe.

“Any time a person receives a direction from a Medical Officer of Health they must comply with it. Public health officials will also discuss with these people the support available to help them meet these requirements.”

Failure to comply with the section 70 notice can result in a fine of up to $4000 or imprisonment for up to six months.

A map showing the new boundary. Image: MOH.

Work by public health staff is continuing to ensure these people are followed up and supported as part of the country’s wider Covid-19 response.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their continued efforts,” says Bloomfield.

Meanwhile, the final household member of the northern Hauraki house where the remand prisoner stayed has now been tested and results are pending.

An investigation into the epidemiological link (exact route of infection) is ongoing – our working hypothesis being that the individual was infected in Auckland after leaving prison, rather than by someone in the local community where he was staying.

Further tests, including whole genome sequencing of the first close contacts, are due tomorrow.

The ongoing investigation from Auckland Regional Public Health is looking to establish epidemiological links to the wider Auckland outbreak, guided by the whole genome sequencing results as they become available.

The five further household members isolating at home returned negative results on Sunday, giving the MOH confidence that they have not been infectious in the community.

All three positive cases, and an accompanying adult caregiver, have been moved to a quarantine facility. 

To date negative results have been returned from testing of close contacts among prison staff, other prisoners, police and court staff.

File photo.

A pop-up testing centre in the northern Hauraki town of Wharekawa marae in Whakatīwai has been busy today testing locals. Waikato DHB reports 340 tests have been taken as of 2pm on Monday.

The Ministry is closely monitoring the situation and will issue updated health advice if, and when, required.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging anyone in Waikato with symptoms to get tested.

For Covid-19 testing locations nationwide, visit the Healthpoint website.

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