MOH: Low risk posed after Tauranga Covid scare
Public health staff have determined that the risk posed to the Tauranga community by the Rio De La Plata Covid-19 cases is low.
This is the latest information from the Ministry of Health this afternoon.
A spokesperson for the MOH says the steps taken to date are appropriately managing any risks.
For this reason, there are currently no restrictions on events in Tauranga.
From 110 tests taken on Monday, negative results have now been returned from 109 workers at the Port of Tauranga.
One is being retested as the result was inconclusive but is considered low risk, says an MOH spokesperson.
“The two pilots, one of whom brought the Rio De La Plata into port and the other who took it out, have both now been tested, have returned negative results (their results are included in the total reported above) and will remain in isolation for the balance of the 14 days post possible exposure.”
The local public health unit, Toi Te Ora Public Health has now confirmed that 72 port workers boarded the vessel while it was docked in Tauranga last week.
All 72 of these workers have been tested and all results are negative, with only the retest of the port worker currently outstanding.
“Some individuals may have an additional test to ensure they fall within the 72 hours threshold of when they were last on the ship,” says a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.
“Initial reports of the numbers of port workers on the vessel also included individuals who were on the wharf but did not go onboard.”
The Ministry says those individuals have also been tested out of an abundance of caution and those results are also negative.
All ships coming to New Zealand from overseas are treated as if the ship has Covid on board and protocols are in place to manage these risks.
The Ministry understands from local public health staff that all infection prevention controls, and PPE protocol, were followed by port workers who had contact with the ship during their duties.
Regarding the crew of the Rio De La Plata, crew members aboard remain asymptomatic and the vessel remains offshore, off the coast of Tauranga.
A decision of where it goes next will be made in coming days, says the Ministry.
The Ministry will be working closely with Port of Tauranga and companies employing port workers to encourage those not currently vaccinated to get a vaccination.
Health officials have been engaging in multiple hui and Q+ A sessions at the port since March and will continue to encourage staff to get vaccinated up until the deadline of September 30.
Anyone in New Zealand who has symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice on getting a test.
Anyone who is tested should self-isolate at home until they return a negative test.