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Today the Ministry of Health has reported that six historical cases, including one confirmed historical case and five probable historical cases are all linked, from the Waikato Cluster. These cases accordingly do not present any risk to the public.
The outbreak happened in February following exposure to an infected person from Italy (another family member). During that present time, the family member visited New Zealand, they started having symptoms that relate to COVID-19, and the more comprehensive household then also started having the symptoms.
The Ministry states that the more comprehensive household including the original case, didn’t meet the case criteria for testing.
This approach from the Ministry says that testing for people with defined symptoms who had travelled from or transited through China. Italy had not at that point, has been identified as a country of concern with COVID-19 risks. The New Zealand household was not tested at the time, even though they had symptoms related to COVID-19.
The Historical confirmed case, who is a man, that was reported today recently started having a sore throat and immediately got tested.
The result of the test was a ‘weak positive result’, serology tests were also conducted, and the products and case history is consistent with an older infection. The Ministry says that the man will only be counted as a confirmed case as he has only returned a weak positive result on the PCR test. The household family members will be recorded as probable cases.
The infected family member who has come from Italy is effectively now the first case that the Ministry of Health is aware of in New Zealand; as they have reported having symptoms on arrival on February 21st, a week before the first reported case on February 28th.
Managing the household cases would represent the first locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, given the onset of symptoms from February 29th for the confirmed case.
A further investigation will continue according to the Ministry of Health to find out what else they might need to know.
“As part of the investigation, close contacts of this man during his recent mild illness have been tested as a precaution and have returned negative tests,” said the Ministry of Health.
“We have known that some people can return a positive PCR test long after they have recovered from the illness and are no longer infectious. Cases from this cluster would fit within one of the four categories outlined yesterday.”
Image courtesy: shutterstock.com
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