You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The three are the first confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Central Otago since testing began with one case each in Roxburgh, Cromwell, and Alexandra.
It comes after the Ministry of Health earlier today said at a 1pm briefing the number of cases in the South had risen by four today.
The Ministry said the new cases included two cases in Dunedin, both women in their 20s, a Wanaka male in his 20s and a Queenstown woman in her 30s.
The Otago Daily Times is seeking clarification on whether the three Central Otago cases are in addition to the four announced earlier today.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said at today's briefing only positive tests recorded before 9am were included in the 1pm briefing, meaning it is possible some or all of the Central Otago positive tests came back after that.
Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan, who was told about the positive tests after 9am, announced the news in a statement released this afternoon but calls for calm and says there is no evidence of community transmission.
"This is a statement I was hoping I would not need to make and that I know will cause further concern to you.
"I am letting you know as soon as possible that the Southern District Health Board has confirmed three positive Covid-19 cases in Central Otago.
"None of the cases are thought to be of community transmission.''
Central Otago Health Services chief executive Dr Kathryn de Luc also released the following statement:
"Central Otago Health Services and Dunstan Hospital wish to assure you that the team are doing their utmost to meet the needs of our community and support our staff and whanau.
We acknowledge these are challenging times that we are all affected by.''
Robust plans and procedures are in place which are being implementing as the situation evolves. she says. However she says there increasing risk of community transmission and calls on the community to adhere to Government Level 4 action.
She asks people to respect: Visitor restrictions; no visitors will be able to enter the hospital except on compassionate grounds or for essential services.
Disruption of services; all non-essential outpatient and community visits will be postponed. Patients will be informed of alternative arrangements over the coming weeks.
Reduced waiting room capacity for services like radiology, x-ray and blood tests at Dunstan Hospital to adhere to the Ministry of Health's recommendations on social distancing.