MidCentral DHB’s Public Health Service has confirmed there are now two additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the MidCentral region and one probable, taking the total tally to five confirmed and one probable.
The fourth case, a male in his 70s, contracted COVID-19 while overseas, and arrived back in New Zealand on March 17.
He then flew on Flight 5115 from Auckland to Palmerston North.
MidCentral DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Robert Weir said the man’s efforts to minimise contact with others was outstanding.
“He has worked with airline staff to ensure no-one was near him on that flight. Upon arriving in Palmerston North, he has driven staight home in Horowhenua where he has gone into self isolation.”
The man’s close contacts are minimal but the national contract tracing service was working with the appropriate airline to ensure his international flight close contacts were contacted.
“He has done everything right in terms of limiting contacts and going into isolation. It is actions like these that will protect our community and save lives.”
The fifth confirmed case, a male in his 50s arrived in New Zealand from overseas on 18 March. He flew from Auckland to Palmerston North on the same day. He then went to his Horowhenua home to go into isolation with his family.
The probable case, a male in his 20s, attended the Hereford Conference in Queenstown. He was on flights from Queenstown to Auckland and Auckland to Palmerston North, and was now in self isolation with family in rural Tararua.
There are three other confirmed cases in the MidCentral region, two in Palmerston North and one in rural Manawatu. All are in self isolation in their homes.
Dr Weir further thanked all of these individuals for their efforts to maintain the health and safety of MidCentral DHB’s communities.
He encouraged everyone in the MidCentral DHB region to adhere to the requirements imposed by New Zealand’s move to an Alert 4 status.
“Please stay at home unless you are travelling for essential reasons. If you do need to leave the house, please remain vigilant by practising social distancing and applying good health etiquette, such as washing hands for 20 seconds and drying them well, sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact the dedicated Healthline number – 0800 358 5453.”
To keep patients, whānau and staff safe, amendments have been made to the MidCentral DHB visitor policy. This means members of the public will be unable to visit patients at MDHB sites - namely Palmerston North Hospital and Horowhenua Health Centre.
In some cases exceptions to this policy will be made on essential and compassionate grounds – for example a parent/guardian who is supporting a child, or a nominated person supporting a terminal patient.
Information about the wider Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the all of government wesbite: https://covid19.govt.nz/