The final test results from more than 250 people tested for COVID-19 in Te Puke recently have now all returned negative. Dr Joe Bourne, who is in charge of the Bay of Plenty DHB’s Community-Based Health Services response, says it is a pleasing outcome.

The final four results follow 261 negative test results last weekend from the seasonal workers who were tested. The total of 265 people tested were ‘casual contacts’ of a recent confirmed case of COVID-19 in an accommodation provider.

The DHB was able set up a temporary assessment clinic within the accommodation specifically to test the people staying there. Dr Bourne says co-operation and collaboration between the DHB Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC) teams and the Te Puke community meant they were able to deliver an efficient assessment process.

“We had great collaboration with the kiwifruit industry to support the workers and that has given a result that should give the community confidence.”

The testing was a precautionary measure only. The people tested were considered at low risk of infection because they had not been close contacts of the affected staff member. However, in line with the Ministry of Health’s surveillance programme to determine if there is any community spread, these people were tested.

All close contacts of the person who tested positive have been tested and all their results were also negative.

Bay of Plenty DHB Incident Management Team Incident Controller Bronwyn Anstis says it is important we continue our vigilance at Alert Level 3, and that anyone who has symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose or fever should ring Healthline, visit their GP/family doctor or a CBAC.

More surveillance testing is likely to occur over the coming weeks. This will be done under the guidance of the Ministry of Health and Toi Te Ora Public Health.