COVID-19 additional testing in WBOP today

A group of around 250 seasonal workers will be tested for COVID-19 in the Western Bay of Plenty this week. Photo: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

The Bay of Plenty DHB is planning additional testing for a group of about 250 seasonal workers in Te Puke from today.

BOPDHB interim CEO Simon Everitt says this is part of their response to eliminate the spread of COVID-19,

He says these seasonal workers are associated with a recent confirmed case through an accommodation setting.

"This is part of the Ministry of Health’s approach to offer testing more widely to specific groups or settings that may be identified at higher risk and helps determine if there is any community spread."

While there is no evidence this group has been exposed and there is no illness reported in the group, Simon says offering testing to all these seasonal workers will help provide assurance to them and the wider community, and ensure there are no undetected community cases.

"It's important to note the recent confirmed case does not work in a post-harvest facility. The close contacts of this person have been identified and are currently in isolation.

"The seasonal workers staying in the accommodation are not considered to be close contacts.

"Preparation to deliver assessment and testing is underway and will start Thursday, 23 April. A temporary assessment clinic will be set up within the accommodation and will be for the people staying there only."

Simon says guidance from Toi Te Ora Public Health is that the group will not need to be off work.

If anyone does have possible COVID-19 symptoms then that individual, like any other essential worker, would be required to stay off work until they receive the results of their test and the further relevant advice.

"We are working closely with the group’s employers and associated industry organisations, to ensure appropriate wraparound support services are available for them, before and after the testing."

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Posted on 23-04-2020 10:31 | By LeeW

Anyone else concerned that people living in shared accommodation are not considered close contacts and allowed to go to work in packhouses?