New COVID-19 case for Taranaki confirmed

More than three weeks after the last reported case of COVID-19 in Taranaki, a new person with the virus has emerged following testing in New Plymouth on Friday.

Taranaki DHB’s medical officer of health, Dr Jonathan Jarman, has confirmed a 50 year old woman is the region’s latest person and fifteenth case to test positive for COVID-19 several weeks after returning home from overseas travel.

Dr Jarman says “This is quite an unusual situation where the person with the infection has returned home in mid-March after travelling through Europe, and had mild symptoms a few days later. She has then lived symptom-free until just this week when she decided to get tested for COVID-19 because she had a runny nose.

“We believe that the first illness in March was most likely the start of the COVID-19 infection. It’s very lucky that our patient put herself into quarantine when she came home and then we have all been in lockdown.”

Taranaki’s Public Health Unit (PHU) is now contact tracing people close to the woman but say her bubble appears to be very small. Dr Jarman confirms these people are now in strict isolation and will be tested for COVID-19.

“This case highlights the ongoing importance of staying in your bubble and getting a test if you develop a flu-like illness. Early detection and isolation saves lives.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, head cold, fever or loss of sense of smell.

People can be tested over the long Anzac weekend between 10am-4pm at the following testing clinics:

· Base Hospital, David Street, Westown, New Plymouth (located in the old St Johns Ambulance building)

Phone/text: 027 380 1433 please call or text in advance

· Ngati Ruanui Healthcare, 41 Hunter Street, Hawera (located at the back entrance of Medical Centre)

Phone/text: 027 380 0894 please call or text in advance.

Dr Jarman adds “This is a good time to remind people that all those old fashioned public health measures like staying in your bubble, washing and drying your hands frequently, coughing into your elbow, getting tested and going home if you are sick still very much apply.

“We can’t relax until the virus has gone from New Zealand.”

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