Covid 19 coronavirus: Hamilton case – health boss Caroline McElnay to reveal details

Health officials have called an unexpected press conference to unveil details of the new Covid-19 case in Hamilton.

Director of public health Caroline McElnay will be taking questions from the media, as well as providing an update on the situation, at 1pm this afternoon.

But the Ministry of Health is playing down the seriousness of the situation – saying the risk to public health is low.

“People in and around Hamilton should not be alarmed,” the ministry said in a statement this morning.

The new case is someone who stayed at the Pullman Hotel and they have been self-isolating since they returned home on January 30.

Officials said the person returned three negative tests before they tested positive for Covid-19.

“The case reinforces the importance of the self-isolation and repeat testing strategy we have adopted around people leaving managed isolation at the Pullman.”

The Ministry of Health statement came after a Hamilton Waitangi Day event was cancelled as, according to the hosts, a “credible health source” said there was a new positive case of Covid-19 in the community.

At first, health officials would not confirm the case but Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate told Stuff the Ministry of Health was investigating a “potential low-risk case”.

“It’s understandable that people are anxious. Everyone wants to keep this virus at bay,” she said.

“It certainly isn’t time to panic or anything,” she said, adding that she hadn’t been given a reason to be concerned at this stage.

Today’s new case is the fifth case of someone testing positive for Covid after they had left managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins ordered an investigation into the hotel to figure out why the virus had spread.

He has not made the results of that investigation public.

Hipkins also ordered a “deep clean” of the hotel before anyone new was allowed to isolate at the facility.

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