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23 covid-19 contacts isolating in Wairarapa

PHOTO/ADOBE.STOCK.COM

SUE TEODORO
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As the numbers of covid infections in Wellington rises to 11 with a total of 148 across New Zealand, the government has confirmed the numbers of contacts isolating in Wairarapa.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said on Tuesday that more than 20 people were affected.

“As of 8am, 23 individual contacts have been registered in the National Contact Tracing Centre register as currently isolating in the Wairarapa DHB region,” they said.

“Contact tracing is carried out by Public Health Units and is co-ordinated by the National Contact Tracing Centre at the Ministry of Health.”

The spokesperson said the number of contacts had increased significantly across New Zealand, as had been expected, and investigations were ongoing.

“The Ministry of Health asks everyone in Wairarapa to remain vigilant. Anyone experiencing cold or flu symptoms should get tested and self-isolate until they have received their results,” they said.

The news comes as Wairarapa health professionals confirm they are prepared for a local outbreak.

Lucy McLaren is a nurse practitioner in the Emergency Department of Wairarapa Hospital and a Wairarapa delegate for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

“The hospital is as prepared as it can be,” she said.

“We did an amazing job last year and we need to do the same thing again,” saying the hospital had an extra layer of protection and processes in place to help keep people safe.

“We will always expect cases and we treat all people with any symptoms as if they have covid. Just as we would treat any infectious disease as if it is there until proven otherwise.”

She advised people to come to the hospital for emergencies such as chest pain, stroke symptoms or uncontrolled pain.

“Please ring your GP or health line if you are not sure.”

McLaren advised people to be kind and, above all, to stay home.

A spokesperson for Wairarapa DHB said they were prepared.

“We have plans in place to enable us to respond appropriately to any varying covid-19 situations and we can quickly adopt different ways of working as may be required,” they said.

“In the meantime, we urge Wairarapa to stick to the plan. Stay in your bubble, and don’t go out unless you are an essential worker, you need supplies or want to take short, local exercise. If you do go out, wear a mask and always be sure to scan.”

The spokesperson urged people to access vaccination information and get tested if they needed to.

A spokesperson for Masterton Medical echoed the advice.

“Masterton Medical would like to reassure all its patients that if they need medical attention, they only need ring us.

“While we are working differently, we don’t want anyone to put off receiving medical care. We are offering phone and video consults for non-routine appointments.

“Where a patient needs to be seen in-person, we are all set up with full safety measures in place,” they said.

The practice has increased its covid-19 testing capacity.

The announcement that Level 4 will continue, together with information showing close contacts of infected cases were isolating in Wairarapa have led to concerns about wastewater testing across the region.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said on Tuesday that regular testing was unde rway.

“I have picked up an increase in concern as a result of this information [close contacts in isolation] being released.”

McAnulty said many people had contacted him concerned about a rumour wastewater testing was not happening in Wairarapa.

McAnulty said he had spoken directly with the Associate Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall, who confirmed wastewater testing had been undertaken regularly in Wairarapa since the announcement of Alert Level 4.

“All results have been negative,” McAnulty said.

“Wastewater testing is an important part of the response to covid, in our attempt to get ahead of it and get back to Alert Level 1 as quickly as possible.

“Any decision around alert levels relies on expert advice, backed up by evidence.

“Cabinet need to have confidence the virus is not spreading within the community undetected. To ensure that, a high level of community testing, contact tracing and wastewater testing plays a big role.”

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said wastewater results were regularly updated in their daily 1pm statement.

“We are currently testing in Wairarapa with the most recent sample collected from Masterton last Friday. It came back negative,” they said.

Wastewater tests are routinely done to detect covid-19 traces.

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