Covid-19: 51 cases in Southland and Otago
Covid-19: 51 cases in Southland and Otago

Covid-19: 51 cases in Southland and Otago

An employee in a retirement town in Invercargill has tested positive for Covid-19. [Generic file photo]

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An employee in a retirement town in Invercargill has tested positive for Covid-19. [Generic file photo]

The Ministry of Health on Monday announced 19 new cases of Covid-19 in Southland and Otago.

There were 51 active cases in the Southern District Health Department catchment area by midnight Sunday, with 38 cases added within the previous 48 hours.

At the national level, 981 community cases and 39 admissions were reported on Monday.

This comes as cases have been confirmed in an Invercargill retirement village and a Gore elementary school.

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An employee at Clare House Retirement Village in Invercargill has tested positive for Covid-19, while another has returned a positive fast antigen test result.

Radius Care, the company that owns Clare House, confirmed the news in a letter to residents.

In the letter, Chief Operations Officer Jane Smart says the first worker will remain in isolation while recovering from the infection, while the second isolates while awaiting the results of a PCR test.

“Exposure times and locations of [confirmed positive] employee is limited. We are pleased to confirm that all other staff who were quickly antigen tested gave negative results on Saturday, Sunday and today, “Smart wrote on Monday.

All residents who were quickly antigen tested also gave negative results, she said.

Clare House worked with the Southern District Health Board and would continue to follow their guidance, Smart wrote.

The retirement town has been closed to visitors.

The Department of Education has confirmed a positive case at Gore Main School.

Ministry spokeswoman Nancy Bell said the ministry worked with school and public health staff to help the school identify and track contacts and communicate with the parent community.

“We will continue to work with the school to support them through this process,” Bell said.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks was purged over the weekend after being considered a random contact.

Hicks confirmed he had been asked to isolate pending his negative Covid-19 test, which he received a day and a half later, he said.

Southerners are still waiting for a list of places of interest after the first two cases of the virus were announced in Invercargill and Gore late Friday night.

Winton Volunteer Fire Brigade members also isolate themselves.

A Southern District Health Council spokesman said Sunday that 200 close contacts isolated themselves in Southland and Otago after coming into contact with a Covid-19 case.

Those identified as close contacts had been contacted by public health personnel, the spokesman said.

The Ministry of Health only reports places of interest in incidents where it cannot identify everyone who may have been exposed.

Hicks said: “None of us should be surprised that we are in this situation. We have been warned for several months.”

The best defense against the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was to be vaccinated, he said.

As of Sunday, 96 percent of eligible residents in the southern DHB catchment area were double-vaccinated.

A suburban-level breakdown released Wednesday showed that 24 suburbs of Southland and Otago had not yet reached the 90 percent limit for two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Palmerston and Riverton had the lowest rates with 85 percent of residents fully vaccinated.

A WellSouth spokesman said 1,800 PCR tests had been taken in Southland and Otago by 4 p.m., but that test centers would be open until 6 p.m.

By comparison, between 277 and 370 inoculations a day were taken throughout the district during the holiday season.

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