COVID-19: No plans to increase Tauranga's alert levels after viral fragments found in wastewater - Jacinda Ardern

The Prime Minister says there are no plans to increase Tauranga's COVID-19 alert levels after a positive wastewater result. 

It comes after a wastewater sample taken from Tauranga on September 23 tested positive for viral fragments. 

On Tuesday Jacinda Ardern said the positive result isn't enough to warrant an alert level shift but surveillance testing and further wastewater testing is underway. 

She urged people in Tauranga and Mt Maunganui to get tested if they have symptoms or have visited a location of interest.

Ardern said it's not the first time they've received a positive wastewater result for somewhere without any known COVID. 

"The issue here is because we have an outbreak in Auckland then that does lead to a few more things we need to chase down. But the best thing that will pick it up is surveillance testing." 

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there is nothing to suggest an outbreak in Tauranga at this stage. 

"There's nothing to indicate there is anything happening. We are doing some precautionary testing… no more than we are asking people to do anyway in fact and that is if you have any symptoms get a test as we wait for the follow-up results." 

He said they are also testing MIQ workers to ensure they aren't infected.

Follow-up samples from Tauranga and Mount Maunganui were taken this morning with results expected on Thursday. 

Additional samples are also being taken from nearby areas including Paeroa, Waihi Beach, Katikati, Matamata, Te Puke and Maketu.

Testing centres in the area will be open extended hours today, and additional testing centres will be established tomorrow to manage increased demand, according to the Ministry of Health. 

It comes after eight new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Tuesday - all in Auckland. Seven of the eight cases are known contacts.