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Southerners urged to maintain health and hygiene precautions and get a test if unwell

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With the long weekend coming up Southern DHB’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Jack is urging Southerners to maintain important health and hygiene precautions including being tested if you have any cold or flu symptoms, no matter how minor.

“The increase in cases we are seeing in managed isolation and the recent community cases is a reminder what a tricky virus this is and that we all need to remain vigilant.

“This virus is raging in many countries across the world and we know that the situation can change very quickly.”

Southern residents and visitors are reminded to stay at home and be tested if they have any cold or flu symptoms. COVID testing is free and available seven days a week. Call your GP or 0800 VIRUS 19 (0800 847 8719) to be referred for a test. You do not need to self-isolate after a test, but you should stay home until you are symptom-free as you should for any cough or cold.

“Hand hygiene, physical distancing and good cough etiquette remain simple yet important ways to keep yourself and the community safe by slowing the spread of any potential COVID-19 transmission. Although masks are not compulsory on public transport and on planes it is still advisable to wear them,” says Dr Jack.

“The public are also urged to record where they have been by using the NZ COVID - tracer app. Many people will be travelling around the country this weekend and it’s important to keep a track of where you’ve been in case our contact tracers need to contact you.”

A case under investigation on board a ship off Port Chalmers in Dunedin where a person on board had returned a weak positive result, has since been determined as a previously reported case in India in August. The investigation and precautionary measures taken are good examples of how Southern DHB’s Public Health team are working with the Ministry of Health to keep the public safe.

“This is reassuring for the public as we now know that the person is not considered to be infectious and poses no risk to the New Zealand public, and all other crew have tested negative.”