Coronavirus: 3 tour members taken to Rotorua Hospital

The 20 DHBs serve a population of 4.8 million, compared to New South Wales in Australia which has...
The 20 DHBs serve a population of 4.8 million, compared to New South Wales in Australia which has 15 DHB equivalents serving 7 million, and British Columbia in Canada where just six health authorities serve a population of 4.7 million.

Three members of a tour group of 19 have been assessed at Rotorua Hospital out of concern they may have become infected with the deadly novel coronavirus infection.

Public health services were alerted tour group members may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.

The virus, centred in China, has already killed more than 40 people.

The tour group arrived in Auckland on Saturday night from Australia and then travelled to Rotorua. It was feared they had made contact with someone with the virus on a previous flight to Sydney on January 20.

In a media statement following questions from the Rotorua Daily Post, the Lakes District Health Board has confirmed the group were first assessed by St John paramedics on Sunday as part of a coordinated response by health agencies.

"Three people were then taken to Rotorua Hospital's Emergency Department for further assessment. While they were found to have no symptoms that would indicate infection with the virus, a range of tests were taken for processing," the statement said

The Rotorua Daily Post asked what the nationalities were of those affected but the statement did not answer that question.

There are no confirmed cases of the virus in New Zealand.

The district health board's statement said expert advice was obtained from the Ministry of Health and Infectious Disease specialists and the three patients were able to be discharged on Sunday night and re-joined their tour group.

Toi Te Ora Public Health Medical Officer of Health Dr Neil de Wet said that public health services continued to follow up and monitor the group and were currently reviewing whether any further measures were necessary.

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and trouble breathing and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.

Local public health services had been working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure appropriate protocols were followed and any risk to the public was managed appropriately, the statement said.

Lakes District Health Board chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said health board staff were aware of the need to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of people who might present to the emergency departments with flu-like symptoms.

He said health board staff were working closely with Toi Te Ora Public Health to keep health professionals across the Lakes district informed of the risk.

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