Risk 'low' after Covid-19 case attended church service

The St James Presbyterian Church in Palmerston. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
The St James Presbyterian Church in Palmerston. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
The Southern District Health Board has confirmed that one of two Covid-19 cases resulting from exposure at this month’s Queenstown cattle conference stayed in Palmerston after the event — but it moved to reassure the community that in general the risk of exposure to the virus was low.

The St James Presbyterian Church in Palmerston cancelled yesterday’s service due to the possibility an Auckland man diagnosed with Covid-19 had unwittingly spread the virus in the East Otago township’s church community.

"The man attended a church service in Palmerston on Sunday morning, March 15, and then returned to Auckland, where he was diagnosed," the SDHB said in a statement issued yesterday evening.

"His family have been in isolation and members of the church congregation have also been advised to self-isolate since the diagnosis was made. We thank everyone for their co-operation and assistance in this situation.

"Public Health South wants to reassure everyone else in the community that their risk of infection is low. We will provide regular updates on any new cases or changes to isolation requirements if necessary but in the meantime everyone should continue to practise social distancing, good hand washing and support each other."

On Friday, the church’s Facebook page posted that with "much sadness" yesterday’s service had been cancelled.

"At this stage we are cancelling for one week, and will review the situation next week, but services may be cancelled for some time."

Two Aucklanders aged in their 60s without international travel history were exposed at the World Hereford Conference, held in Queenstown from March 9 to 13.



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