EMILY IRELAND
emily.ireland@age.co.nz

Ministry of Health statistics aligning covid-19 cases to DHBs throughout New Zealand issued on Thursday, show that Wairarapa has five confirmed and probable cases, an increase on three from the previous day.

Until Thursday, only two confirmed cases had been made public – the Carterton council worker who has now been cleared, and a woman in her 20s.

All 262 confirmed cases as at 9.30am on Thursday, were up on the ministry website Thursday night, and still there were only details of two confirmed Wairarapa cases. The Times-Age was unable to confirm if the three further cases fell into the ‘probable cases’ category now counted in the official tally, but it would appear so.

It is understood that the five cases span the Wairarapa area, however the ministry could not confirm what towns those who had tested positive for covid-19 lived in.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were 73 new confirmed cases and five probable cases nationwide in the 24 hours to 9.30am on Thursday. This brings the tally of confirmed cases in New Zealand to 262. Of these, 27 have recovered, and seven people are in hospital.

There are also 21 probable cases nationally, up from 16 Wednesday, making a combined tally of 283.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said Wairarapa deserved to know what towns the covid-19 cases were confirmed in.

“We are waiting for information from the Health Ministry. We would like to know where the new cases are.

“We have three towns here [in South Wairarapa], which is a different situation than many other regions, but I would like to know the locations of the new cases.”

A spokesperson for the Wairarapa District Health Board said they did not have oversight of cases and could not confirm anything further than what was made public by the ministry.

With five cases, Wairarapa has the second highest infection rate of all New Zealand district health boards, next to Capital and Coast.

Wairarapa’s rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 people is 10.82, compared with Capital and Coast’s which is 10.87. In Auckland, there are 7.84 confirmed cases per 100,000 people.

There are no confirmed cases in Tairawhiti and Whanganui.

One of MidCentral District Health Board’s probable cases is a man in his 20s who lives in rural Tararua. He attended the World Hereford Conference in Queenstown, was on flights from Queenstown to Auckland and Auckland to Palmerston North, and was now in self-isolation with family.

The conference on Hereford cattle in Queenstown is being investigated as one of several “possible clusters” where covid-19 has spread.

Masterton District Council has closed the fluoride-free drinking water source on Manuka St, Masterton, because of the risks of spreading the disease.

– additional reporting by Karen Coltman