• Covid-19 case isolating in Hawke's Bay a "system failure"

Covid-19 case isolating in Hawke's Bay a "system failure"

Director-general of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has acknowledged there was a "system failure" that saw a positive Covid-19 case travel to Hawke's Bay pending a test result and without the knowledge of health officials.

On Saturday night the Hawke's Bay District Health Board announced a permitted traveller from Auckland had returned a positive result for the virus from tests taken before he arrived in Hawke's Bay. They were not notified beforehand. 

During Monday afternoon's post-Cabinet press conference, Dr Bloomfield said the system failed to notify the right people.

The case was tested on November 14 and left Auckland that same day to "relocate". Three days later on November 17, the positive test was notified by the lab and the person was notified, by which time they were in the region. 

"When the positive test was notified by the lab, and the person was notified and isolated, they were in Hawke's Bay by that time. The ongoing follow up care was transferred to Healthline and Healthline was making daily calls to that person. 

He said Healthline assumed the man was still in Auckland.

"One of the things that hadn't happened in the system, and we're having a look about making sure we correct that, is they assumed the person was still in Auckland, but we now have a flag in the system so they will notify the local public health unit.

"This was just something that the system should've notified the public health unit, it didn't, and we've followed that up to make sure that the system will do that in the future."

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said the criteria for relocating is proof of residential address and, if leaving Auckland, evidence of a negative test result or medical certificate confirming you are unable to have a test.

"The initial contact with every case includes advice to isolate and await further contact from public health, with a subsequent referral to community isolation and quarantine if indicated."