Category : News
Author: Rachel Sadler

Health authorities are investigating a case of COVID-19 found in Northland's community in a person who has left a MIQ facility.

This person left their facility about five days ago, according to the New Zealand Herald.

It has been just over two months since New Zealand's last case of community transmission.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins will give an update at 4pm where it is expected they'll provide more information on this latest case in the community.

What you need to know

  • The person left managed isolation about five days ago, according to the Herald
  • Hipkins says there is not yet evidence of community transmission in Northland, and reiterated the difference between this and a case of COVID-19 in the community
  • In its regular 1pm case update, the Ministry of Health confirmed eight cases of COVID-19, but all of these were detected in managed isolation.

Follow Newshub's live updates here.

4:25pm - Dr Bloomfield says the woman had four close contacts. She also visited retail outlets, cafes, and went to Airbnbs.

He reiterated again that the locations she visited will be updated online on a drip-feed basis once the owners of those outlets are notified.

COVID Tracer App users who scanned in will receive a notification, and Dr Bloomfield says the Ministry of Health will push out those locations in a number of ways.

The woman didn't go to any mass-events, like concerts.

4:20pm - Hipkins says rather than having a blanket target on the number of tests that should be conducted per day, he believes it's about testing the right people.

He urges anyone who is symptomatic to contact Healthline and orgainse to get tested.

On vaccines, he says it's most likely approval of those will come first before they arrive in the country. He says border workers and their contacts will be one of the first to receive the vaccine.

4:17pm - "We're doing all the things we need to do to prevent onward transmission," Dr Bloomfield says. It's worth noting again that health officials are acting as if this is a positive case.

He says they've been working with the public health unit in Northland and are increasing testing in the region.

4:15pm - Hipkins says people who have left the Pullman Hotel since January 1 are asked to get a test.

The woman lives just south of Whangarei - which is where she currently lives.

Dr Bloomfield says the woman may be able to self-isolate at home, but that is yet to be determined.

He adds they are contacting the owners of the around 30 locations the woman visited before publishing them online.

The woman became more unwell as time went on, but she doesn't yet need hospital-level care.

4:12pm - Dr Bloomfield says the woman travelled in southern Northland after leaving MIQ. There are roughly 30 locations the woman visited, and she was "extremely assiduous" in using the app. She also had the Bluetooth function turned on.

He adds the locations and potential exposure dates will be published soon. People who were at those locations will be asked to phone Healthline to organise to get a test.

But he urges if anyone is symptomatic, either in Northland or elsewhere in New Zealand, they should get tested.

"This is a reminder to all of us that the pandemic continues," he says.

"Wash your hands and scan in religiously."

4:10pm - Dr Bloomfield says some of the woman's family members in Europe tested positive for the virus while she was visiting them.

After leaving MIQ, the woman has lived with one other person. They are in isolation.

He says people who leave MIQ are called a few days later to see how they're feeling. He says the woman felt "progressively worse" after she left, and she was tested at a community facility. She was isolating while waiting on that result, which came through on Saturday night.

Dr Bloomfield says they're working on the assumption that this is a positive case and that the woman has the more transmissable strain of either the UK or South Africa variant.


4:05pm - Hipkins is reminding Kiwis to use the COVID Tracer App - which includes turning on Bluetooth and scanning in - and to isolate while they're waiting on a test result.

The woman at the centre of this case used the app to scan in at every location she visitied, Hipkins says.

4pm - The case is a 56-year-old woman who was at an MIQ facility in Auckland. She had recent returned from Europe.

She tested negative twice during her stay

Hipkins says her strain of the virus isn't yet know, and it is too early to speculate.

3:55pm - A press conference is scheduled to begin at 4pm, which will be fronted by Dr Bloomfield and Hipkins.

There are a number of ways you can watch that live:

3:50pm - ACT leader David Seymour says if this case turns out to be community transmission, the Government's objective "must be avoiding another lockdown".

He believes the best news is this case is a "false alarm", but if not, then a number of things should happen to protect the community.

"First, mass testing will need to be rolled out. How soon can this be in place? Is the resource standing by to rapidly put in place the infrastructure for mass testing in the region?," he says.

"We know very few people in Northland have been getting tested, with Ministry of Health statistics showing only 282 tests were carried out over the past week [January 18 to 24], down from 328 the week before."

Seymour adds that much will rest on where the source of this outbreak occurred in MIQ, including whether this person travelled to Northland from Auckland or further afield.

"Above all, the Government must be completely transparent about all aspects of this situation," he says.

"We hope the Government succeeds in containing any cases as soon as possible."

Coronavirus live updates: Case of COVID-19 found in community in Northland
Photo credit: Getty Images

3:40pm - Since reports of the case emerged earlier on Sunday, Hipkins has clarified there is not yet any evidence of community transmission in Northland - reiterating the difference between this and a case in the community.

"It's still most likely this is a border case," he said, as reported by the Herald.

3:30pm - Welcome to Newshub's live updates on the case of COVID-19 found in Northland's community.

We are awaiting an update from Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins, which is due to happen at 4pm, where they are expected to give more information on this case. When that begins, you'll be able to watch it above, in either the embedded YouTube link or the video player at the top of the page, or live on Three.

What is currently known is health officials are "investigating a positive test result in a person who has departed from a MIQ facility". The NZ Herald also reports the person left their facility about five days ago.

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

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