261 Te Puke workers test negative for COVID-19
The Bay of Plenty DHB has confirmed that 261 seasonal workers in Te Puke have tested negative for COVID-19.
They are still waiting for the “last few” tests to come back. It is expected the results will be returned in the next 48 hours.
The workers tested were ‘casual contacts’ of a recent confirmed case, who was a staff member at an accommodation provider.
Dr Joe Bourne, who is in charge of the Bay of Plenty DHB’s Community-Based Health Services response, says a small number of results are pending due to the swabs needing to be retaken.
“This occurs from time to time for technical reasons and is unsurprising in such a large number of samples.”
Joe says the remaining tests are no higher risk than any of the reported results.
The DHB has given workers the results that are available now so they are not left with any unnecessary uncertainty.
Joe says he hoped the large number of negative results would reassure the Te Puke community.
“These workers are a long way from home and they are doing vital work in the community so we were really pleased to be able to deliver the negative test results to them.”
The Te Puke testing response should give people confidence that the Community Based Assessment Centre teams can always mobilise to a specific area when required, says Joe.
In this case, a temporary assessment clinic was set up within the accommodation specifically to test the people staying there.
“We had great collaboration with the kiwifruit industry to support the workers and we were able to deliver a really efficient assessment process that has given a result that should give the community confidence.”
The workers’ were considered at low risk of infection because they had not been close contacts of the affected staff member.
Close contacts of the person who tested positive have been tested and all their results were negative.
Interim CEO of Bay of Plenty DHB Simon Everitt says the risk of COVID-19 in the Bay of Plenty remains low with a small number of cases, but assessment centres remain open over the long weekend.
“Anyone who has symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose or fever should go to a CBAC to be swabbed. Once they are tested anyone with symptoms must remain at home, and not go to work, until the result of their test is known.”