A person in Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel.
The individual was in managed isolation from January 16 to January 30 and had been self-isolating at home, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said on Saturday.
"All recent Pullman managed isolation guests have been required to self-isolate for 5 days following completion of their 14 days in managed isolation," MoH said in a statement.
The person, who was asymptomatic, had returned 3 negative tests prior to testing positive on Friday afternoon. The individual has been transferred to an Auckland Quarantine Facility.
Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay addresed the media at 1pm.
What you need to know
- The asymptomatic individual is the fourth person who has tested positive after leaving managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel.
- A 56-year-old Northland woman tested positive with the South African variant on January 24, after leaving managed isolation.
- A father and his young daughter from Auckland's North Shore were confirmed positive on January 28. Genome sequencing suggests they have the South African variant and the case was linked to the Northland woman. The mother of the child was later tested positive on February 2 and is at home self-isolating.
- COVID-19 recovery minister Chris Hipkins says it's very likely the source of infection could be spread during the person's stay at managed isolation.
These live updates have finished.
2:00pm - Air New Zealand has hit back at infectious disease expert Dr Siouxsie Wiles after she slammed the airline for continuing to serve food and drinks on their domestic flights.
"The MOH have reviewed our food & beverage offering & are supportive of us continuing this service while the country is at Alert Level 1," they tweeted.
"If you’d like to further understand what we’re doing to keep people safe, feel free to DM us. We’d love to chat."
1:30pm - There is still no confirmation on whether the Hamilton case is an 'acute case' or a 'historical case'.
Early PCR results showed a high CT value - which may indicate a historical case. However, a further rapid test has returned a CT value of 33 - indicating the case is active.
"Once again, we are acting from an abundance of caution and further tests are underway," Dr McElnay says.
1:25pm - The positive test was picked up on day 5 outside of managed isolation as a result of recent measures put in place for guests at the Pullman Hotel.
Pullman managed isolation guests have been required to self-isolate for 5 days following completion of their 14 days in managed isolation.
"We are awaiting further test results but based on our current assessment of the circumstances, we consider the public health risk to be low, and people in and around Hamilton shouldn't be alarmed."
1:20pm - There is one new case of COVID-19 in the border and one recovered case, MoH confirmed on Saturday.
The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 62.
1:15pm - The Ministry of Health is looking at whether five days is long enough to isolate after leaving MIQ.
"Based on what we know it is a sensible precaution," Dr McElnay said on Saturday. "It is too early to say whether we will extend the five day isolation period."
But Dr McElnay says there is no evidence that extending the quarantine period to 21 days is needed. Evidence shows the 14 day period is enough.
Roughly 60 people are still isolating at the Pullman Hotel and they are due to leave on Sunday.
The hotel will be deep cleaned and the Ministry of Health will review whether the hotel can be used again.
Ministry of Health is looking at whether to remove common areas, like exercise space. They are mindful of the need for people to exercise, "but we have to balance that against keeping other guests, staff and general public safe".
1:10pm - The Hamilton case stayed at home and wore a face mask. Dr Caroline McElnay says if it is an active case it is "very well contained".
The infected person was on the same floor as the other Pullman cases - the Northland woman who tested positive on January 24 and the father-daughter who tested positive on January 27.
MoH is looking at the timing of the infections as it could be transmitted via being at the same place at the same time.
Dr McElnay says those who are in the Hamilton area with symptoms should get tested.
Investigation systems are in place in the Pullman hotel. They have stopped taking new arrivals and the last remaining guests are due to leave on Sunday.
1:00 pm - Dr Caroline McElnay says the individual who tested positive on Saturday was assymptomatic.
The person returned 3 negative tests prior to testing positive five days out of managed isolation. They have been transferred to the Auckland Quarantine Facility.
Dr McElnay says the public health risk is low and is not advising any restrictions or cancellation of events.
The person, who was asymptomatic, lives with two other people. The close contacts have been tested and so far have been negative.
"There are no locations of interest so far."
12:40pm - COVID-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said previous Pullman Hotel cases were likely to be transmitted via a surface or being at the same place within a short time.
"I still don't have an update on the specifics of how it was transferred," he said on January 26.
"The advice I have had so far is that ventilation, while possible, is still one of the less likely potential avenues of transmission between the two people and it's more likely to have been via a surface or them being in the same place within a short time of one another."
12:20pm - The Ministry of Health confirmed the individual who completed their managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel had tested positive.
The individual has been isolating at home in Hamilton since January 30. They returned 3 negative tests prior to testing positive.
"All recent Pullman managed isolation guest have been required to self-isolate for 5 days following completion of their 14 days in managed isolation," a MoH spokesperson said.
"The case reinforces the importance of the self-isolation and repeat testing strategy we have adopted around people leaving managed isolation at the Pullman."
MoH considers this a low public health risk and says Hamilton residents should not be alarmed.
12:15pm - A Hamilton community centre cancelled their Waitangi Day event on Saturday morning as they had been advised by a "credible health source" to do so.
"We understand there is a positive COVID case in the Hamilton city, with two close contacts," they wrote on Facebook.
12:10pm - Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay will provide a live update at 1:00pm. The media stand-up will be livestreamed on Newshub.