Taranaki DHB praises community for COVID-19 vigilance

7 April 2020

Taranaki DHB’s medical officer of health, Dr Jonathan Jarman, is praising the community for their united vigilance in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Right now we have a window of opportunity to eradicate COVID-19 so it’s good to see the Taranaki community are staying in their bubbles and abiding the guidelines set out by the Government to keep our confirmed case numbers low,” says Dr Jarman.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we might have dodged the current COVID-19 bullet but need to wait for another two weeks to have more certainty.”

Since 19 March 2020, Taranaki has recorded a total of 14 people with COVID-19 infection. Thirteen people were confirmed positive and one person was a probable case. There have been no cases linked to the WOMAD festival.

Dr Jarman explains “A probable case is due to a test result being inconclusive, but meets other criteria.  These people are managed in the same way as a confirmed case.”

Taranaki has only had one person hospitalised due to COVID-19 who was discharged home yesterday.

“Recovered patients are those who have got better and are able to come out of isolation.  Currently there are eight in Taranaki,” says Dr Jarman.

People who have had mild to moderate COVID-19 infection can be released from isolation if they meet the following criteria:

  • at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms
  • there has been resolution of all symptoms of the acute illness for the previous 48 hours

Testing for COVID-19 in Taranaki continues around the region with four designated testing locations – New Plymouth, Waitara, Opunake and Hawera.

Taranaki DHB’s Incident Management Team controller Becky Jenkins says “There have been a total of 652 test swabs received by our DHB laboratory for testing since February. Over half of these have been received in the last 10 days which signifies the amount of increased testing we are doing in the region.”

In response to the recently announced change in domestic flights, Taranaki DHB has reviewed arrangements for laboratory sample transportation and continues to send COVID-19 test swabs to the Canterbury DHB laboratory for testing and analysis on weekdays. On the weekends the test samples are driven to the Wellington laboratory where testing will be undertaken. These arrangements are regularly reviewed.

Ms Jenkins says “The turn around time on test results is 2-3 days, but priority is given to essential workers and people who are in hospital.

Taranaki DHB is also reminding the public that eradicating COVID-19 is vital to protect people’s health and ensure our health system can cope and look after Taranaki people who become sick.
Dr Jarman adds “Let’s keep our number of cases low by staying at home, this is essential. It is a simple but highly effective way to constrain the virus. It will help give our healthcare system a fighting chance.”

People are encouraged to talk with a health professional if they feel they’re not coping during this challenging time. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.

Last updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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