Covid cases confirmed in Dunedin and Queenstown

By on February 10, 2022 0
Covid-19 has returned to the South – almost 22 months since the last case of community transmission.

Late last night health officials confirmed that someone in Dunedin had tested positive for Covid-19, and that during their infectious period they had also been in Wanaka and Cromwell.

The announcement came just hours after it was announced that two residents of Queenstown had tested positive for the virus, cases likely to be Omicron’s highly transmissible variant of the disease, although tests have not again confirmed this.

The last case of community transmission from Otago and Southland was recorded on April 17, 2020.

Officials also revealed yesterday that at least one person from a group of visitors from the North Island to Queenstown last weekend had since tested positive for Covid-19.

Southern District Health Board Medical Officer Dr Michael Butchard said anyone from Dunedin, Wanaka or Cromwell should check the Department of Health website regularly for new places of interest.

None had been posted for Dunedin or Wanaka last night, although a service station in Cromwell was listed.

The Dunedin case was now self-isolating at home, Dr Butchard said.

“The investigation into the source of this case is ongoing.”

Te Kaika Vaccination Center in St Kilda and WellSouth Covid Community Testing Center in Malcolm St offer free walk-in and drive-through Covid-19 testing.

Previously, a series of places of interest in Queenstown had been notified by the Department of Health.

Many, including several popular restaurants and bars, have been noted as places of close contact.

Dr Butchard said it was possible the two Queenstown residents caught Covid-19 from an infected person in the tour group, but there was no epidemiological evidence yet to show a link between them.

“We don’t have enough connections to be definitive on this.

“We may have to rely on whole genome sequencing to be able to make that connection.”

The two Queenstown cases, the infected resident and a household contact, had stayed home as soon as the first case started showing symptoms, Dr Butchard said.

“There is no one else in this household… The family contact has no symptoms but they are also positive.”

As soon as the first person in the household felt sick, they mostly stayed home and were tested on Tuesday, Dr Butchard said.

They may have been contagious over the weekend, but Dr Butchard said they did the right thing by staying home and getting tested as soon as possible.

Not all of the places of interest in Queenstown were related to the local case, and several were recorded in relation to the group of visitors, who are said to have undertaken various adventure and tourism related activities during their stay at the resort.

There was a slight increase in the number of tests in Queenstown yesterday after the cases were announced.

Te Kaika’s testing center in Frankton saw a surge in demand for testing about half an hour after it opened.

Te Kaika’s systems innovation manager, Raewyn Nafatali, said while they were busier, the numbers were still not particularly high.

“On average, they make up to 15 [tests]and today, so far, they’ve done about 50,” she said.

Queenstown Medical Center chief executive Ashley Light said tests were stable at the medical center yesterday.

“Anyone who was in close contact with the identified positive case passed, as opposed to people who experienced symptoms, so we had a slight increase [in testing] but nothing the system can’t handle,” Light said.

A total of 155 tests have been carried out in Queenstown, primary health organization WellSouth said.

“While that’s more than double most weekdays for this month, it’s still less than we’d like to see,” WellSouth chief executive Andrew Swanson-Dobbs said.

Mr Swanson-Dobbs said there were plenty of tests available, they were free and there were two sites in Frankton – the Engage Safety Covid-19 testing center and Te Kaika – where no appointments were made. you weren’t required.

Dr Butchard said no additional resources had yet been dedicated to the Queenstown cases.

“Anyone with even mild cold symptoms, even the most scratchy throat, please get tested as these are the most common signs of infection,” he said.

“Also, if people need a wake-up call or some other reason to get vaccinated [of the Covid-19 vaccine] it should be, because there is a big advantage in protecting yourself from being boosted compared to having received two doses of vaccination, and there is strong evidence for this.”

Place of interest

• Jervois Steakhouse Queenstown. Thursday February 3, 8-9 p.m.

• Close contact My Thai Lounge Lounge Queenstown. Friday February 4, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

• Queenstown Skyline Gondola. Saturday February 5, 3:30-5:45 p.m.

• Close contact The Sundeck Rooftop Bar, Queenstown. Saturday February 5, 9-10 p.m.

• Ballarat Queenstown. Saturday, February 5, 10:00 p.m.; close contact.

• BP 2go Cromwell. Saturday February 5, 12:15-12:30 p.m.

• The World Bar & Restaurant Queenstown. Sunday February 6, midnight-1:30 a.m.; close contact.

• Habana Boutique rum bar, Queenstown. Sunday February 6, 2:30-4 a.m.; close contact.

• Queenstown Airport, Frankton. Sunday, February 6, 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.