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First Positive Test For COVID-19 In Southland

An Invercargill man in his 40s has tested positive for COVID-19, following his return from travelling overseas to Australia.

This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Southland, and the fourth in the Southern district.

The man is at home with his family, and all are in self-isolation.

Contact tracing is now underway, and we are requesting close contacts stay in self isolation for 14 days from the date of potential exposure.

As part of this process Southern DHB is alerting people who may have been in locations in Southland where they may have come into contact with the individual. It is important for public health teams to notify the public about the movements of infectious cases to maintain awareness of possible transmission and ensure everyone monitors their own health.

The following locations relate to possible casual contacts by members of the public that can’t be identified through contact tracing. Casual contacts are people who may have come into contact with the individual, but for less than 15 minutes and/or at a distance of less than two metres.

The risk in these instances is considered to be low. Those who believe they may have come into contact with the case are advised to monitor their health and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if they develop symptoms such as a cough, fever, sore throat or difficulty breathing.

LocationDates/timeRisk to public
The Batch Café, Invercargill16 March, 8.30am
17 March, 9.30am
Casual contact – low risk
New World, Windsor12 March, 4-5pmCasual contact – low risk
Waihopai Football Club – Surrey Park, Invercargill12 March, 6-7pmCasual contact – low risk
Southland Athletic championship, Surrey Park, Invercargill14 March, 10-11am and 3-4pmCasual contacts – low risk

Testing for Logan Park students
Tracing at Logan Park has resulted in around 150 close contacts of a Dunedin student being identified, they are in self-isolation.

After discussion with the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, the Ministry of Health's Chief Science Advisor and our local Medical Officer of Health, and because this was the first positive case in a school, we have been testing these close contacts.

This is a unique situation and the decision to test the contacts is part of a precautionary response.

Call to community to help stamp out the disease

Southern DHB Chief Executive Chris Fleming says the DHB has been preparing for the arrival of the disease in our district and again commended those who have provided care and supported the public health response.

“Our thoughts are with all of those who have been diagnosed with this illness in our community. We ask they are supported and that their privacy is respected.”

Mr Fleming again called upon the community to play its part in stamping the disease out.

“We need you to help ensure the health system is able to support those who need care.

“All our efforts need to be on stopping the spread, or at least slowing it to a manageable rate.

“Anyone who feels at all unwell should stay away from work, school or any other institution.

“If you are asked to self-isolate, please do so. This is so important to stopping or slowing the spread of this disease.
“Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have undertaken any overseas travel in the past 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. Please do not go directly to the Emergency Department or your GP. We are aware that Healthline is very busy and it may take time for your call to be answered. Please be patient as this is very important.”

“Please also assist by following the advice from the Ministry of health and sharing the messages from the Ministry of Health as widely as possible. We all need to work together to prevent community transmission and we thank you for your support and cooperation.”

Prevention – how to protect yourself and others

· Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.

· Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.

· Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).

· Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

· Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

· Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people.

· Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs. Stay home if you feel unwell.

Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have undertaken any overseas travel in the past 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. Please do not go directly to the Emergency Department or your GP.

© Scoop Media

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