Pullman returnee tests Covid-19 positive in Hamilton; Waitangi Day event canned

A new positive case of Covid-19 in the community has been confirmed in Hamilton.

The Ministry of Health said an individual who had been a guest at the managed isolation facility at the Pullman Hotel “and has been isolating at home in Hamilton since January 30 has tested positive for Covid-19”.

“All recent Pullman managed isolation guests have been required to self-isolate for five days following completion of their 14 days in managed isolation,” the ministry said in a statement after media reports of the case.

“The individual has been isolating at home in Hamilton since leaving the Pullman on January 30 and had returned three negative tests prior to testing positive,” the statement said.

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

“Based on our current assessment of the circumstances around this case, we consider the public health risk to be low and people in and around Hamilton should not be alarmed.

“We are continuing to gather information which will be made available at 1pm, when Dr Caroline McElnay, Director of Public Health, will be available to speak to the media at the Ministry of Health in Wellington around today’s result.”

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said she is aware of the case “but understand it is very low risk and that it is being dealt with quickly as per all normal protocols. I don’t have any further details and am waiting for further information from the Ministry of Health.

“I know there are rumours circulating on social media but that’s not helpful. I would urge people not to share information until the facts are crystal clear.

“In the meantime, I’m reassured there’s no need to panic and that we should continue to use the contact tracing app, wash our hands and stay home if unwell.”

A Hamilton Waitangi Day event was cancelled this morning, with the hosts referring to information obtained from a “credible health source” that there was a new positive case of Covid-19 in the community.

The Waitangi Day 2021 Commemoration was to be held at the Western Community Centre on Hyde Ave in Hamilton today.

“We understand there is a positive Covid case in Hamilton city, with two close contacts. We have made the very difficult decision to cancel the event today. We apologise to those that have travelled to attend this event, however the health and wellbeing of community is paramount,” the community centre said in a Facebook post earlier this morning.

“We have been advised by a credible health source. Further information will be officially released later today and we will post the link as soon as it’s available.”

Hamilton councillor Dave Macpherson arrived at Elliott Park in Hamilton just after 8am to learn the event had been cancelled.

Macpherson, who turned up to represent Hamilton City Council at the powhiri at 8.30am with about five other city councillors, said his group was later informed by Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa – the lead organiser – they had decided to cancel it due to a confirmed Covid case in Hamilton.

Macpherson said while he was sure there disappointment, there was also a sense of agreement that it was the right thing to do.

“There was a general sense of resignation.”

Some stall holders were still arriving with trailers to the one-day family event only to be turned away. By the time he was leaving a number of tables and tents were being collapsed.

Southgate had emailed councillors at 8.30am referring to “social media speculation” about a case in the city and would keep them up to date with further details as they came to hand and that she would be taking a lead from the Ministry of Health, he said.

We have been advised by a credible health source. Further information will be officially released later today and we…

The Waikato DHB referred requests for comment to the Ministry of Health.

The Hamilton event was meant to start at 8.30am.

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