True number of Southern cases believed to be 'much higher'

The Southern District Health Board says the total number of Covid-19 cases in the South is believed to be "much higher" than what has been reported due to patients having their NHI numbers registered in other parts of the country.

This evening the SDHB gave an update of the cases in the South reporting there were 690 active cases in the district.

However it clarified that this was not a true indication of how rampant the virus was in the South.

"The reported number of cases in Southern are not reflective of the true number of cases across the district. It is estimated that total case numbers in the Southern district is closer to 1200 with escalating numbers in the last two days.

"Please be vigilant when out in the community. Covid-19 is widespread, and we all run the risk of being exposed."

It said the discrepancy with the number of cases was due to a large number of positive patients being registered with a general practitioners in other districts.

"This links their NHI number to an address in a different area of the country meaning that the Southern district's actual case numbers are much higher than those reflected in the daily tally released by the Ministry of Health."

Cases in Dunedin were particularly affected, it said.

This is likely due to the city's large student population.

"It is estimated that total case numbers in the Southern district is closer to 1200."

The numbers as reported

The Ministry of Health said in its update earlier today there were 2846 new cases nationwide, including 206 in the South.

As of 1pm yesterday, there were 223 close contacts isolating throughout the Southern district. 56 of these are in the Queenstown-Lakes district and 159 are in Dunedin.

There are 690 cases in the South which includes 11 in Central Otago, one in Clutha, 349 in Dunedin, 7 in Gore, 29 in Invercargill, 270 in Queenstown-Lakes, 8 in Southland and 13 in Waitaki.

Today's new cases were in Central Otago (2), Dunedin (162), Gore (2), Invercargill (8), Queenstown-Lakes (26), Southland (1) and Waitaki (3).

There were no new reported cases in the Clutha District today.