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The Ministry of Health reports that weak positive traces of Covid-19 have been found in wastewater of Christchurch, Rotorua and Queenstown.
Current assessments indicate that there’s a very low risk to the wider community around the country with these findings.
Wastewater testing will continue to be part of New Zealand’s routine surveillance testing strategy to fight against the virus.
Subsequent testing was undertaken after Queenstown and Wellington returned negative results. Weak positive results were picked up in Porirua but later returned negative.
Further testing is underway in Christchurch and Rotorua today.
It is believed that the weak positive results are likely from recent positive cases in managed isolation or have just recently recovered, which are not infectious but continue to shed the virus after returning to their home or while travelling.
There’s no risk of getting Covid-19 from wastewater.
Anyone who does develop symptoms in the areas as a precautionary approach is asked to get tested to rule out any undetected Covid-19 infection.
Visitors in the areas are also advised to get tested by calling Healthline and requesting one at 0800 358 5453. Alternatively, they can contact their doctor or visit a testing station to get a test.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says it is vital that anyone who has symptoms gets tested.
“Wastewater testing serves as an early warning system in the fight against Covid-19, as it does in many other countries,” Dr Bloomfield said to thisquality.
“When wastewater testing returns weak positives, it’s essential that anyone in these areas with symptoms consistent with Covid-19 stay at home and promptly call Healthline about getting a test.”
“Any cases of Covid-19 need to be detected quickly in order to stop the virus spreading in our communities. This is especially important as we head into winter, as people may have the usual winter coughs and colds,” says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.”
Everyone should continue to use the NZ COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth turned on to keep a record of their movements so they can be recalled quickly if needed by contact tracers.
Keeping up with hygiene measures is critical to stopping the spread of the virus – wear a face covering on public transport, wash your hands, and cough or sneeze into your elbow.
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