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Southern DHB: Daily Media Update – Wednesday 25 March 2020

Four new COVID-19 cases in Southern district

Two Dunedin women in their 20s, a Queenstown woman in her 30s and a Wanaka man in his 20s have tested positive for COVID-19.

Additional cases in Otago were also confirmed today, but no details are available at this stage. They will be included on the Ministry of Health website tomorrow.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases, as of this this morning, in the Southern district to 19 . 18 confirmed and one probable.

Cases who have returned from overseas have all gone into immediate isolation and have very few close contacts. Those related to the Hereford Cattle conference have more extensive contacts that are now being followed up. All cases have mild illness.

Contact tracing has commenced. Everyone is asked to monitor their health and contact Healthline should they experience cough, fever or have difficulty breathing.

Again, we call upon the community to provide support to and respect the privacy of the affected people, and we thank everyone who for cooperating with requests to self-isolate.

Alert to public

As part of contact tracing process, 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.

COVID-19 cases have visited the following locations between 14 March and 24 March: Central Dunedin, South Dunedin, North Dunedin, Mornington, Central Christchurch, Mosgiel, Green Island, Queenstown, Cromwell and Alexandra as well as some specific places as listed in the table below.

These 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 more 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.

Location Dates/time Risk to public
Bus tour Christchurch – Omarama – Dunedin – Te Anau – Milford Sound – Queenstown – Fox Glacier- Christchurch12 March – 18 MarchCasual contacts – low risk

Outram Rugby field

Central Dunedin

South Dunedin

14 MarchCasual contacts – low risk
Auckland and Dunedin

21 March

Dubai to Auckland EK448

23 March

Auckland – Dunedin NZ677

Casual contacts – low risk

More cases expected but no need to stockpile medication

Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Jack says, “We aware of growing public concern because of new cases and the upcoming Level 4 alert lockdown but there is no need to stockpile medications.

“Pharmacists have been very busy filling repeat prescriptions, please request refills only when you would normally do so.”

Southern DHB continues to remind the public that the best way they can help with the COVID-19 response is to:

- Keep two metres physical distance from others

- Stay home to avoid exposure to illness

- Practice good personal hygiene and cleaning practices

More Southern DHB COVID-19 cases are expected to be confirmed in coming days as New Zealanders return home from overseas and as a result of exposure at the World Hereford Conference. Public Health staff are working very hard at identifying close contacts of these cases and providing advice and thank everyone for their cooperation and assistance.

UPDATE: Childcare for essential workers

Southern DHB is welcoming the decision by the Government today to fund in home child care for essential workers. This will have a positive impact on the provision of health services in the South, by allowing key staff who have children to be able to continue working during the four week lockdown, which begins tonight. While the details of this decision are still to be advised, the DHB welcomes the practical support and peace of mind it will provide for essential staff who are parents and caregivers.

UPDATE: Changes to visitors allowed in our hospitals

Southern DHB is not allowing visitors to Dunedin, Southland and Lakes District Hospitals except on compassionate grounds. Visitors allowed on compassionate grounds are limited to those residing in the patient’s household. We are making exceptions to the household rule for those patients who live alone and have limited access to alternative support networks.

All visitors are being assessed through a series of questions for COVID -19 at the hospital entrance and their details are recorded. If they are unwell, they are not able to visit.

UPDATE: Dunedin Dental Services

It is important that adults in the Southern district, who require essential dental treatment, should contact their usual private dentist in the first instance.

In Dunedin, essential care for adults who do not have a private dentist, will be provided by the School of Dentistry. The contact number is 03 479 8889.

While dentistry is on the list of essential services, people need to be aware that during this time dentists can provide only a very limited range of treatment. This is because some dental equipment cannot be used as it generates aerosols, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

For safety reasons, dentists will provide emergency treatment only, which is treatment for oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding, or pain which cannot be managed by medications.

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