Fears infections could be going undetected in Taranaki

There is one new Covid case in managed isolation today.

The new case arrived in New Zealand on July 22 and tested positive on day three of routine testing. Their full travel history is yet to be determined.

The Ministry of Health says daily wastewater samples from the New Plymouth treatment plant will continue for the next week after a positive result last week.

"Latest wastewater test results from a 24 hour period between Saturday and Sunday, from six sites, show no further virus has been detected," the ministry said in today's update.

Health officials are still encouraging anyone in Taranaki with symptoms to be tested.
They also advise those who have travelled back to the region after being in Australia and who don't have any symptoms to get tested as well.

The Mattina container ship remains in quarantine in Bluff and is inaccessible by the public.

The infected crew of the Spanish-flagged shipping vessel Playa Zahara have all recovered and no one remained onshore in managed isolation, the ministry said.

Fourteen of the 20 crew members are now back aboard the Viking Bay, which remains in quarantine at Queens Wharf in Wellington. The remaining six were in managed isolation in Wellington, the ministry said.

Iwi calls for wider testing

Today's update follows calls for wider testing for Covid-19 in wastewater in Taranaki amid concerns of undetected community transmission.

The warning from local iwi Ngāti Ruanui to expand the testing beyond New Plymouth comes as the Ministry of Health updates details of infections in a statement at 1pm.

The South Taranaki iwi says it has serious concerns about the response from the Taranaki District Health Board to Covid being found in New Plymouth's wastewater.

Ngāti Ruanui kaiwhakahaere (administrator) Rachel Rae said that given the population of Taranaki moves throughout the region it was extremely unsettling to find out that no other regional wastewater systems are being monitored for the virus.

"Why is Hāwera, Patea, Eltham and Stratford wastewater plants not monitored? We could have community transmission without having any monitoring. Is this a region of two halves?" said Rae.

The health board's testing plan appeared to be made-up on the spot rather than being a fundamental plan that should be in place and adequately resourced, she claimed.

Rae was also concerned that the already under pressure primary health and GP staff were being used to support the Covid testing centres.

Meanwhile, New Plymouth residents waiting for the remaining results from wastewater samples taken over a wider area should get answers today after two samples tested positive for Covid last week.


If this Covid 19 sample turns out to be a community spread case of the virus, there are those out there who would call this discovery pure luck, as they have continued to call the nation's record with managing this virus throughout, it's all down to good luck.
These people are invariably opposition politicians and their followers and disgruntled medical /scientific academics who fear they're might be becoming irrelevant. The problem is that they provide a platform that the witless and the gullible stand on to preach their ignorance based fear.
The truth is this New Plymouth discovery was the result of a managed programme of wastewater testing that is happening around the country. It is part of a coordinated strategy that is designed to protect us.
It has nothing to do with luck.

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