No new Covid-19 cases in the community connected to Northland case found after latest testing

There have been no new community Covid-19 cases recorded in New Zealand today, Chris Hipkins has confirmed. 

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Dr Bloomfield provided the update as Northland grapples with a case in the community. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes as the Ministry of Health yesterday said it was investigating one positive test result found in Northland, a 56-year-old woman.

In a media briefing today, the Covid-19 Response Minister said the woman has been confirmed as a positive case. 

Genome sequencing has confirmed the woman had been infected with the South African variant of the virus, Hipkins said.

He said investigations also found it was "highly likely" the woman caught the virus from a fellow returnee at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland, where she was staying in managed isolation. He said there was a direct link between the woman and the returnee, with no missing link in between. 

Investigations into how that transmission occurred will continue, he said.

Hipkins said, in light of the case, 46 people have been asked to stay at managed isolation at the Pullman facility for longer, as a "precaution". They will also undergo an additional test before their exit. 

He said 253 returnees left the Pullman within the new infection window of the Northland case. Health authorities have had contact with 172 of them as of this morning, and work continues for the rest. 

Hipkins said all returnees who exited the Pullman from January 9 to 24 are asked to self-isolate until they get a negative test. 

For the 220 staff at the facility, 114 have already been tested. The remaining will be tested this afternoon, and test results are expected early tomorrow, he said. 

“As is normal in a situation like this, an investigation is being carried out urgently to look again at whether there are further changes that need to be made," Hipkins said of the managed isolation facility. 

The woman who contracted Covid-19 completed a 14-day stay in managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland on January 13, after travelling back to New Zealand from Europe. Health officials said the woman had reported experiencing Covid-19 symptoms following her stay.

Since yesterday evening, the Ministry of Health has been releasing details of her movements from January 14, up until January 22.

This morning, Hipkins said the first test results of two close contacts of the woman - her husband and her hairdresser - have come back negative.

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said 15 people in total were being treated as close contacts of the woman. 

Bloomfield said it was "encouraging" that two close contacts of the woman tested negative. 

He said it was likely the woman hadn't passed on the virus to her husband, who she spent a significant amount of time with, because she didn't report experiencing respiratory symptoms. As a consequence, the virus would less likely have been passed on. 

There were also six new cases of Covid-19 detected in managed isolation since yesterday.