Covid-19: No new cases in Christchurch, but Covid detected in wastewater samples



CHRIS SKELTON/StuffQueues at a Covid-19 testing station in Orchard Rd, near Christchurch Airport, stretched about 1 kilometre on Thursday morning after news of two new cases in the city. (File photo).While no new cases were reported in Christchurch on Monday, Covid-19 has been detected in two wastewater samples collected in the Garden City. The Ministry of Health announced there 162 new cases on Monday: 156 in Auckland, 5 in Waikato and one in Northland. Four of those were identified at the border. In a media release, the ministry said the virus had been detected in wastewater samples taken in the southern and eastern parts of Christchurch. “One of these samples is likely the result of a known case living in the catchment area. Investigations are underway to establish any link to known cases for the second sample, including any recovered cases that have recently left MIQ.” READ MORE:* Covid-19: Questions linger about Christchurch Covid case that flew to Tonga* Covid-19: Fifth case in Christchurch ‘likely’ historical, source of Tongan case remains unknown* Covid-19: Christchurch case in Tonga shows more community spread likelySTUFFStuff visited Bishopdale Village Mall to see how Cantabrians are feeling about the new cases of Covid-19 in Christchurch. Further samples are being taken with results expected later this week, the release read. The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) is in charge of testing the country’s wastewater for the presence of viral fragments of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19. One litre samples are collected from sites around New Zealand, and taken to Wellington where ESR tests them in its lab. The number of sites wastewater is collected from varies, but covers hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. Canterbury District Health Board’s eligible population was at 91.2 per cent for first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 73.8 per cent for second dose as of Sunday. About 78,000 people still need to get their second jab for the DHB area to hit 90 per cent fully vaccinated. Cabinet was scheduled to meet to consider the alert levels on Monday, with any change to restrictions expected to be announced at 4pm. Earlier on Monday, the CDHB said in a statement that access to its health facilities will remain restricted at least until 11:59pm on Thursday. Children under 16 and people who were unwell are not allowed to visit health facilities under any circumstances, except to access emergency care. Several other restrictions are in place around visiting patients in hospital. The visitor restrictions also applied to the DHB’s aged residential care facilities.ALDEN WILLIAMS/Stuff13082020 photo Alden Williams An Air NZ ATR 72 lands at Christchurch Airport. File generic ZK-MVZ ATR 72-600 Air New Zealand turboprop aeroplane plane Meanwhile, Health experts are still investigating how a person who flew from Christchurch to Tonga on Wednesday after returning a negative pre-departure test, tested positive upon arrival in Tonga. No link has yet been established to Christchurch’s four active community cases, or a separate source. The case had been in New Zealand for at least a week before flying out. “The risk to the New Zealand public from this case is low,” a Ministry of Health spokesman earlier told Stuff. Tongan media outlet Matangi Tonga reported that the person was a young missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who had been overseas and stayed in New Zealand for several weeks before flying to Tonga. University of Canterbury infectious disease modelling expert Professor Michael Plank previously told Stuff it was possible the person could have caught the virus up to a week before leaving Christchurch. It was also possible to return a negative result two to three days after getting infected, while still being in the incubation period, he said. “If we are working on the basis that they caught it in Christchurch, that would suggest other cases in the city that we don’t know about.ESR/SuppliedCovid-19 has been detected in two wastewater samples collected in the Garden City. “They have to have caught it from somewhere.” On Sunday, one previously reported community case in Christchurch was reclassified as a historical case following further test results, bringing the total cases in the city from five down to four. The four cases are clearly linked with a clear source. They include the two original cases that were announced on Thursday, and two of their close contacts. There were more than 9000 vaccinations administered across Canterbury on Saturday, including 6600 second doses – about a fifth of the total vaccinations delivered across the country.



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