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Wednesday 25 March 2020

Media Statement – Update on COVID-19 results

Last Saturday, we announced that a Carterton District Council staff member was a confirmed case of COVID-19.

We are delighted to now be able to tell you that all close contacts from the staff member’s social group, both locally and in the Kāpiti area, have all received negative test results, meaning they are cleared of having COVID-19.  As a precaution, nine members of Carterton District Council who were identified as casual contacts have also been tested for COVID-19. While awaiting results, these staff members all self-isolated and followed Public Health guidelines. All nine staff members’ test results have also come back negative. Furthermore, Public Health has now cleared the affected individual, who is now subject to the same isolation rules as any other New Zealander under Alert level 4.

This has been a very difficult and stressful time for all individuals involved. There were no obvious links established to overseas travel relating to the affected staff member and therefore, self-isolation only became necessary once they became symptomatic. This person did everything right and went into self-isolation as soon as they started to show symptoms, including not coming into work. Any speculation to the contrary has been damaging to the community’s sense of calm and accurate access to information, and to the staff member’s well-being.

It has also been a period of anxiety, not just for the affected staff member, but for any staff and close contacts who were awaiting test results.

We encourage people to be kind to one another and only go to reputable sources for information. That is, the Ministry of Health or Government’s COVID-19 website: www.covid19.govt.nz, www.cdc.govt.nz/covid19, and the COVID-19 Wairarapa Updates Facebook page.

Meanwhile, our council staff have been working from home to keep essential services running and will continue to bring you updates via our Facebook page and website. Some of our staff have been helping the Medical Centre with traffic control and we have a number of people helping at the Wairarapa Emergency Management Office (EOC). We are extremely proud of all our staff, whether they are at home isolating or out performing permitted essential duties.

Our staff member affected by COVID-19 wishes to make the following statement:

“Although I’ve been cleared by Public Health, I will continue to do everything I can to help protect my community and follow the isolation rules under the current alert level.

“I really want people to please be kind to everyone. Being stuck on your own is really difficult. Please keep in touch with your neighbours over the fence and keep a safe distance.

“This has been a really difficult time for me. My workmates and 99% of people out there have been really supportive but some have been really harsh on social media and I just want to remind people to please be kind to everyone.”

ENDS.  Media Contact: Elisa Vorster, elisa@cdc.govt.nz, 027 222 6822